Curve’s lucky number is 13
Pablo Reyes waited until the ninth inning of the Curve’s matchup with Bowie to blast a home run. He saved his second knock of the game for extra innings.
The Curve utility man drove a solo homer over the left-center field fence for a Curve walk-off, 7-6 win in the bottom of the 13th.
Reye’s game-winner brought a crowd of 7,557 fans to its feet. Altoona players mobbed Reyes at the plate, and the celebration spilled up the third-base line.
The Curve needed this one.
“I think this is going to play big for the next couple of months,” Curve hitting coach Kevin Riggs said. Riggs managed the majority of the game after Curve manager Michael Ryan was ejected for arguing a close play at third base in the fourth inning.
“Any win is a good win, but certainly in a game when you fight like that.”
Altoona defeated Bowie for only the second time in ten games this season. The win did not come easy.
Alex McRae delivered another quality start for Altoona in its time of need. The righty pitched into the ninth inning, and left the mound with the Curve holding a 4-1 advantage.
McRae allowed two seeing-eye singles to Garabez Rosa and Steve Wilkerson before being relieved. Sean Keselica entered the game and the wheels fell off.
Rosa scored on a fielder’s choice, and Chris O’Brien drove in Wilkerson with a base hit. Both runs were charged to McRae.
“He pitched well enough, and earned the right to have one more hitter,” Riggs said. “It’s unfortunate how it turned out, but it’s not unfortunate what he gave with his heart and soul tonight. That was brilliant.”
Pinch-hitter Audry Perez produced a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Austin Wynns and tied the game.
Mike Yastrzemski drove a two-run single to centerfield to provide Bowie its first lead of the night. Yastrzemski continued his hot hitting against Altoona and finished 3-7 with two RBIs.
The Curve came up a run short in the ninth Friday, but still had some fight in them in this one. Reyes smashed a solo home run to cut the deficit in half.
“He wasn’t trying to do too much, and that’s one of the things we’ve talked about at times during the year,” Riggs said of Reyes. “He’s got tremendous hand-eye coordination, so when he can get the barrel to the ball it will jump.”
The game nearly concluded when Elvis Escobar swung at a third strike with two outs, but the ball snuck past the catcher and Escobar reached on the wild pitch.
Logan Hill drew a walk, and Espinal stepped up with the tying run in scoring position. The first baseman delivered with a game-tying base hit to even the score at six.
Jerrick Suiter provided the Curve a 3-1 lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth. The designated hitter reached base four out of five times.
Espinal and Bowie starting pitcher Jesus Liranzo faced off in a true matchup of ‘power vs. power’ in the second. Espinal nearly swung out of his shoes in the first pitch of the at bat, but turned around a 97 MPH fastball on the next pitch that cleared the left field bleachers for the first run of the game.
McRae, who entered the game fifth in the Eastern League in innings pitched, allowed eight hits and three runs through eight plus innings. The right-hander struck out three and did not walk a hitter.
“Pretty aggressive,” catcher Jin-De Jhang said of McRae. “Taking it one pitch at a time and going with the game plan.”
Jhang said McRae’s cutter was especially effective.
Luis Heredia (2-2) picked up the win for Altoona, while Jefri Hernandez (1-3) took the loss for Altoona.
The Curve will try to manage a series split against Bowie tonight, before Harisburg comes to town for a three-game set.
Key player: 2B Pablo Reyes blasted two homers, including the walk off, and finished 3-6 with three RBIs.
Key play: Reyes’ second home run won the game for Altoona.
Key stat: The Curve picked up only their second win in 10 tries against Bowie this year.
How they scored
Bottom 2nd: Espinal homered (1-0).
Top 5th: Rodriguez singled, scored on throwing error (1-1).
Bottom 6th: Neman singled, Hill walked, both scored on Suiter double (3-1).
Bottom 7th: Maffei walked, scored on Reyes double (4-1).
Top 9th: Rosa singled, scored on fielder’s choice (4-2); Wilkerson singled, scored on O’Brien single (4-3); Wynns reached of fielder’s choice, scored on Perez sacrifice fly (4-4); O’Brien singled, Marin walked, both scored on Yastrzemski single (4-6).
Bottom 9th: Reyes homered (5-6); Escobar reached on strikeout and wild pitch, scored on Espinal single (6-6).
Bottom 13th: Reyes homered (7-6).
Tonight: Bowie at Altoona, 6 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Tanner Anderson (7-7, 3.82) vs. Baysox LHP Tanner Scott (0-1, 1.64)