Ducks continue mastery of Curve at Canal Park
AKRON, Ohio — The Curve have the third-best record in all of professional baseball — majors or minors – with a 9-2 mark, but the road has been a different story so far.
Primarily because of Akron.
Altoona dropped to 0-4 at Canal Park with a 3-2 loss Thursday night, as the RubberDucks won in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth inning. Joe Sever’s one-out double scored Mike Papi from second to give Akron the victory.
The Curve are 6-8 on the road, with half of those losses coming at Canal Park. That’s no surprise given the history of the two franchises, as Akron has flat out dominated on its home field against Altoona over the years, owning a 113-71 record.
Akron has won six consecutive home games overall against the Curve, going back to last year’s playoffs.
Brandon Waddell came off the disabled list to start for the Curve. The lefty had been out a month with a left forearm strain, but he turned in three dominant innings Thursday.
Waddell held Akron hitless and struck out six in those three innings, including five out of six batters during one stretch. Success at Canal Park is nothing new to Waddell, who was tremendous in the final game of last season’s playoffs.
Waddell pitched seven shutout innings that night and allowed one hit. That shouldn’t have been recorded a hit, however, as it bounced off the glove of third baseman Eric Wood, who admitted afterward it should have been an error, as did then-Curve manager Joey Cora.
With his three hitless innings Thursday, Waddell has — for all intents and purposes — thrown 10 consecutive hitless innings at Canal Park. And yet he doesn’t have a win to show for it, since Akron won that final game last year in 10 innings and found a way to beat Altoona’s bullpen Thursday.
The Curve grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on a double by Wyatt Mathisen and later a sacrifice fly by Pablo Reyes.
Waddell was only scheduled to go three innings to help stretch him out, then Austin Coley tossed two scoreless innings. Akron got to reliever Jared Lakind for two runs in seventh, grabbing the lead on a two-run triple by Eric Haase.
The Curve pulled even in the ninth, getting singles by Eric Kramer and Connor Joe, then later a sacrifice fly by Jordan Luplow.
Curve reliever Miguel Rosario (0-1) walked Papi to start the bottom of the ninth, then hit Mark Mathias. Two batters later, Sever doubled over Reyes’ head in center to win it.
Neil Holland (1-0) picked up the victory in relief for Akron.
Key player: C Eric Haase had two RBIs for Akron, on a triple in the seventh for a 2-1 lead.?Key play: DH Joe Sever delivered a walk-off RBI double in the ninth for the RubberDucks.
Key stat: The Curve are 0-4 at Akron this season.
How they scored
Top third: Mathisen doubled, scored on Reyes sacrifice fly (1-0).
Bottom seventh: Paulino singled, Papi singled, both scored on Haase triple (1-2).
Top ninth: Kramer singled, scored on Luplow sacrifice fly (2-2).
Bottom ninth: Papi walked, scored on Sever double (2-3).
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: Only Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (9-1) and Triple-A Tacoma (10-2) have a better home record than the Curve’s 9-2 mark. Altoona doesn’t return home until Thursday, so it’s possible that by then it could have the best home record if those other teams lose.
SAFE AT FIRST: DH Connor Joe extended his hitting streak to 11 games Thursday, going 2-for-3 to raise his average to .300.
STEALING SECOND: RHP J.T. Brubaker was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right index finger blister.
ROUNDING THIRD: 2B Kevin Kramer is up to second in the Eastern League in hitting with a .366 average. 1B Edwin Espinal is seventh at .338.
HEADING HOME: RHP Tanner Anderson is seventh in ERA at 1.98, while RHP Alex McRae is ninth at 2.12.
— Cory Giger
Tonight: Altoona at Akron, 6:35 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Yeudy Garcia (0-2, 6.43) vs. RubberDucks RHP D.J. Brown (0-1, 9.00)