Altoona suffers eighth straight setback
The Curve have been on losing streaks of four games or more three times this season.
Saturday night they not only lost their eighth straight game, but also dropped to a season-high 15 games below .500 following a 4-0 loss to the New Hampshire in front of 6,888 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
This is the fifth time that the Curve have been shut out. The offense has now gone 25 innings without scoring a run when Jarek Cunningham hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning of game two during Thursday’s doubleheader against Richmond.
“I don’t think anyone is really pressing on this team,” Cunningham said. “We just got to go out and play hard and see what happens. In past games we’ve had good at-bats and we just haven’t been on the same cylinder.”
Much like April, May was not friendly to the Curve’s record as the club went 10-23 on the month including this recent slide.
New Hampshire starting pitcher P.J. Walters (1-0) got the win, striking out 10 and allowed just one hit after being acquired from Kansas City this past week.
“We didn’t have the rhythm at the plate tonight,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said. “We have an experienced guy who was using the breaking ball in every situation and it was working for him.”
Curve starting pitcher Nick Kingham (1-6) dropped his sixth straight decision and allowed all four New Hampshire runs – two earned – but did strike out seven batters.
The Altoona bats did have a prime opportunity in the bottom of the first with the bases loaded, but Andy Vasquez flew out to the Cats’ right fielder Matt Newman to end the Curve’s best scoring chance of the night.
Through the first two games of the series, the Curve have left a combined 16 runners on base, and struck out 26 times.
“Pitching wise we are doing outstanding and those guys don’t get any run support, and I felt for them,” Garcia said.
New Hampshire took the lead in the top half of the second inning when Andy Burns belted a solo home run to left field to give the Fisher Cats the lead for good.
Altoona almost managed to get out of trouble in the next frame, but Melky Mesa’s two-out double allowed the Fisher Cats to add on two more runs.
This afternoon the Curve will not only look to snap their current skid, but also score their first run in three days. Cunningham feels it will come to down to capitalizing on their opportunities.
“Earlier in the season sometimes our bullpen would give up that one run we needed, and now we’re not getting the runs we need to help them out,” he said.
Key Player: New Hampshire RHP P.J. Walters struck out 10 in seven innings, allowing one hit and walking three.
Key Play: Curve LF Andy Vasquez flew out to right field with the bases loaded in the bottom half of the first inning, ending their best scoring chance of the night.
Key Stat: Altoona has struck out 26 times in the last two games, gone 25 innings without scoring a run, and has been shut out five times this season.
How They Scored:
Top 2nd: Burns homered (0-1)
Top 3rd: Mesa doubled, scores on throwing error by Hanson (0-2), Berti to second, scores on Schimpf single (0-3)
Top 5th: Mesa doubled, scored on Schimpf single (0-4)