Curve come up short
HARRISBURG — The Curve got good starting and relief pitching Friday night, but this time, the offense and defense let them down.
Harrisburg took the lead with a gift run in the eighth inning on a dropped fly ball, and that run held up in a 2-1 win over Altoona at FNB Field.
The Senators pulled even at 1-1 in the seventh inning, then had the tying run on third with one out in the eighth. Kelvin Gutierrez hit a routine fly ball to medium center field that Jason Martin was camped under, and it’s doubtful the runner would have scored from third on the play.
But Martin dropped the ball. Taylor Gushue did indeed come home from third, and while Martin got an error, the official scorer ruled that it was a sacrifice fly for Gutierrez.
It was the second routine fly ball Martin has dropped in the early going this season. The other came when he was playing left field.
Austen Williams struck out the side in the ninth for Harrisburg to earn his first save. Logan Darnell (2-0) picked up the win in relief.
Yeudy Garcia (0-1) took the loss in relief for the Curve.
Brandon Waddell turned in a strong start, battling control issues to limit Harrisburg to one run on two hits in 6• innings. He struck out five and walked four.
The Curve offense just couldn’t provide much support for Waddell and the pitching staff, with Christian Kelley’s homer in the third serving as the lone run. Altoona, which managed only three hits, had runners at second and third with no outs in the fourth inning and couldn’t score, which turned out to be a huge missed opportunity.
Wirkin Estevez, who came in with a 6.75 ERA for the Senators, held the Curve to the one run on three hits over six innings, striking out five with one walk.
Claysburg native Kaleb Fleck came on in relief for Harrisburg in the seventh inning and retired all three batters he faced with one strikeout.
Fleck had a rough outing against the Curve at Peoples Natural Gas Field two weeks ago but got some redemption Friday. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 1-3 record and 6.23 ERA in six appearances, giving up eight runs — six earned — on nine hits in 8ª innings.
Key player: RHP Wirkin Estevez gave up one run on three hits over six innings for Harrisburg.
Key play: CF Jason Martin dropped a fly ball with one out in the eighth, allowing the Senators to score the go-ahead run from third.
Key stat: The Curve had only three hits and scored their lone run on a homer.
How they scored
Top third: Kelley solo homer (1-0).
Bottom seventh: Gutierrez singled, scored on Collier double (1-1).
Bottom eighth: Gushue walked, scored on Gutierrez sacrifice fly (1-2).
Tonight: Altoona at Harrisburg, 6 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Mitch Keller (2-0, 1.93) vs. Senators RHP Brady Dragmire (1-0, 3.63)