Curve stuck in the middle

The Curve have been able to get off to fast starts, outscoring opponents 46-19 in the first inning.

It’s been sustaining that momentum which has come back to hurt them, particularly in the middle three frames, where the club has been outscored by a margin of 114-85.

Reading scored five unanswered runs, four of which came in the fourth through sixth, to beat Altoona, 5-2, Saturday night before 6,250 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Andy Vasquez broke the ice in the first with his home run to left center to put the Curve up, 1-0. Jarek Cunningham reached on a triple in the third and scored on Alen Hanson’s one-out single for a 2-0 lead.

“Jumping ahead with two runs, we tried to keep building on,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said. “I don’t feel like we competed the second part of the game.”

That’s where it fell apart for Altoona.

The Fightin Phils got their rally started in the fourth with a one-out single by Jake Fox. He scored on Logan Moore’s sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 2-1 against Curve starter Joan Montero.

Montero, whose last start came in September with Single-A Bradenton, went four innings, allowing one run on three hits. He entered the rotation after Nick Kingham was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday.

“He threw the ball very well, at least for the first three innings,” Garcia said. “He was dominating the strike zone. He got a little wild in the fourth, but he was able to keep control, so I’m happy with that.”

It was in the sixth when Reading took over for good as it scored two runs, one of which came off a RBI single by pitcher Hoby Milner to put the Phils ahead, 4-2.

Pat Ludwig (0-1) took the loss in his Double-A debut following his promotion from Single-A Bradenton on Thursday, allowing three runs on six hits in three innings. Garcia believed that consistency was his biggest problem.

“He’s a guy that’s been inconsistent for the most part, and we try to reel him back in, try to get the best out of him,” Garcia said. “He has a good arm, it’s going to be up to him to put it together and become more reliable.”

Milner (5-3) got the win, finishing the night going seven innings and striking out six after giving up the first two runs of the game.

Reading’s Seth Rosin picked up his first save of the season, working the ninth.

The Curve will now look to take the rubber match with the Fightin Phils tonight. If they win, it will give the club their third series win in their last four.

Game Recap

Key Player: Reading P Hoby Milner went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits, striking out six.

Key Play: Fightin Phils C Logan Moore’s double scoring Peter Lavin in the sixth was the game’s deciding run.

Key Stat: The Curve are 15-30 against right-handed pitchers.

How they scored

Bot 1st: Vasquez homered (1-0).

Bot 3rd: Cunningham tripled, scored on Hanson single (2-0).

Top 4th: Fox singled, scored on Moore sacrifice fly (2-1).

Top 5th: Cartwright doubled, scored on Alonso double (2-2).

Top 6th: Lavin doubled, scored on Moore double (2-3); scored on Milner single (2-4).

Top 9th: Alonso doubled, scored on Fox single (2-5).