Curve lose two again

PORTLAND, Maine – The Curve’s disastrous season now includes another long losing streak, although technically it’s not as long as it appears.

Portland swept a second straight doubleheader from Altoona on Saturday, winning 5-1 and 3-2 at Hadlock Field. Combined with the two losses from Friday and two at New Hampshire, the Curve have now dropped six consecutive games.

However, one of the losses Friday doesn’t count against the current skid. Game one was the completion of a suspended game that began June 11 in Altoona, and even though the game didn’t finish until Friday, baseball’s rules say the result counts for the day the game started.

So, the losing streak is officially five games.

Semantics aside, the Curve are having a brutal time of it right now.

The doubleheader sweep Saturday dropped the club to 21 games below .500, and it’s inching closer and closer to the worst record at any point in franchise history. The 2009 team hit a low point of 26 games below .500 at 34-60, and that team went on to finish with the worst record in team history at 62-80.

This year’s team has to go 36-33 the rest of the way to avoid matching that dubious mark, which seems highly unlikely given the myriad issues that still plague the club.

The Curve played Saturday without three regulars: third baseman Jarek Cunningham and second baseman Gift Ngoepe, both suspended for their roles in Wednesday’s brawl at New Hampshire, and first baseman Stetson Allie, who suffered a concussion in the brawl and is on the disabled list.

Altoona would have had a tough time winning against Portland, the Eastern League’s best team, even with everyone available. Playing short-handed, the Curve fell behind early in both games and were defeated by a Sea Dogs team that’s now 49-25.

Portland scored three runs in the first inning of game one off Curve starter Joely Rodriguez (3-6) and never looked back. Brian Johnson (6-1) pitched a complete game, giving up one run on six hits for the win.

The Curve took a brief lead in the nightcap as Drew Maggi led off the game with a homer. The Sea Dogs got that run back in their half of the first, though, and took the lead for good with two runs in the third off Matt Benedict (0-5).

Altoona pulled within 3-2 in the seventh on an RBI single by Junior Sosa that scored Kelson Brown, but it couldn’t catch up.

Michael Olmstead (3-0) won game two in relief, pitching two scoreless innings, while Noe Ramirez earned his seventh save.

Game recap

Key players: 1B David Chester went 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Sea Dogs in game one; DH Blake Swihart was 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs in the second game for Portland.

Key plays: Chester’s three-run double in the first gave Portland all the runs it needed in game one; the Sea Dogs scored two runs to take the lead in the third inning of game two, capped by a solo homer from Swihart.

Key stat: The Curve have lost six straight – technically five – and are now 21 games below .500.

How they scored

First game

Bottom 1st: Gibson singled, Marrero walked, Coyle walked, all three scored on Chester double (0-3).

Top 2nd: Garcia solo homer (1-3).

Bottom 5th: Meneses singled, Gibson singled, both scored on Swihart single (1-5).

Second game

Top 1st: Maggi solo homer (1-0).

Bottom 1st: Marrero singled, scored on Swihart single (1-1).

Bottom 3rd: Meneses reached on Vasquez error, scored on Marrero sacrifice fly (1-2); Swihart solo homer (1-3).

Top 7th: Brown singled, scored on Sosa single (2-3).