Curve take two in Akron
AKRON, Ohio — The Curve pulled off a rare doubleheader sweep Sunday at Akron, a place they’ve always had trouble winning, and now they’re in position to try and start building some separation in the division standings.
Connor Joe drove in four runs in game one to lead the Curve to a 6-4 win, and Jordan Luplow belted a two-run homer early in game two to pave the way to a 4-1 victory. The Curve had been 0-4 at Canal Park this season before Sunday’s sweep.
First-place Altoona is now a season-high seven games over .500, and it has a 2¢-game lead over Bowie in the Western Division. The Curve’s next two series are against the last-place teams in each division — at Richmond, then home against New Hampshire — so a good week can give them a lot of separation from .500 and their closest challengers.
The team did get some bad news over the weekend, though, as outfielder Michael Suchy was placed on the disabled list with a broken hamate bone in his left hand. That type of injury typically keeps a player out a significant period of time. Suchy is hitting .260 with one homer and six RBIs.
Outfielder Jerrick Suiter was promoted from high-A Bradenton to take Suchy’s roster spot. Suiter was hitting .237 with no homers, four RBIs and a .630 OPS in 10 games for the Marauders.
Joe went 3-for-4 to go along with his four RBIs in game one. His two-run double in the fifth gave Altoona the lead for good at 3-2.
Yeudy Garcia (1-2) notched his first Double-A win, giving up two unearned runs on three hits in five innings. Tate Scioneaux worked the final two innings for his first save. Akron starter Julian Merryweather (2-2) allowed three runs in 4ª innings for the loss.
Luplow’s two-run homer in the second started the scoring in game two, and the Curve never trailed as they finished off the sweep.
Sean Keselica made a spot start for the Curve and allowed one run on two hits in three innings. It was the first earned run he’s allowed all season as he came in having thrown 15• innings of relief and giving up just one unearned run.
Austin Coley (1-1) pitched two innings in relief and got the win, while Montana DuRapau pitched the final two innings, striking out four, for his sixth save. Matt Whitehouse (1-1) gave up three runs — two earned — in three innings to take the loss for Akron.
Key players: RF Connor Joe went 3-for-4 with four RBIs in game one, and DH Kevin Kramer went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run.
Key plays: Joe’s two-run double put Altoona ahead to stay in the fifth in game one, and Luplow’s two-run homer did the same in the second inning of game two.
Key stat: The Curve are now a season-high seven games over .500.
How they scored
Top 1st: Kramer doubled, scored on Joe single (1-0).
Bottom 4th: Mejia reached on Kramer error, Bradley doubled, both scored on Papi double (1-2).
Top 5th: Kramer walked, Espinal hit by pitch, both scored on Joe double (3-2).
Top 6th: Simpson singled, scored on Chavez sacrifice fly (4-2); Mathisen singled, scored on Aviles wild pitch (5-2).
Top 7th: Kramer doubled, scored on Joe single (6-2).
Bottom 7th: Mathias singled, scored on Allen double (6-3); Stamets singled, scored on Krieger groundout (6-4).
Top 2nd: Joe reached on Chang error, scored on Luplow two-run homer (2-0).
Top 3rd: Kramer tripled, scored on Espinal double (3-0).
Bottom 3rd: Stamets tripled, scored on Papi groundout (3-1).
Top 7th: Morales singled, scored on Newman single (4-1).
Tonight: Altoona at Richmond, 6:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Alex McRae (3-0, 2.12) vs. Flying Squirrels RHP Jordan Johnson (1-2, 3.32)