Musgrove gets his work in

By Cory Giger

Joe Musgrove was remarkably efficient in his rehab start for the Curve on Monday, but he made one mistake, and Altoona’s struggling offense couldn’t pick him up.

Musgrove threw 34 pitches, 28 for strikes, and struck out the final four hitters he faced during a four-inning start against Bowie. He struck out the side in the fourth inning on only 10 pitches.

“I felt good today,” Musgrove, coming back from a shoulder injury, said. “They were swinging early, and I feel like that’s how it is a lot with the rehab starts. Guys usually want to come in and ambush the guy and not get to two strikes and see the nasty stuff.”

Musgrove’s lone mistake was a 1-1 fastball in the first inning that stayed out over the middle of the plate, and Corban Joseph belted it for a homer. The Baysox added another run off Altoona’s bullpen in the ninth for a 2-0 win before 2,666 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

The game tied the fastest in Curve history, at 1 hour, 51 minutes, equaling a 2004 game at Harrisburg. Musgrove’s efficiency was a big part, and another part was the Curve collecting only one hit, while Bowie had just four.

“He was unbelievable,” Curve manager Michael Ryan said of Musgrove. “Since he’s been here, he has shown us what it looks like to be a major leaguer. Not only what he’s doing in between the start, how he’s supporting the teammates that he’s not even really a part of.

“First guy into the clubhouse, probably the last one to leave every night. Just the model big leaguer. And you have that in the clubhouse you should be looking at and say, ‘That’s the way that it looks.’ So, awesome. He was unbelievable.”

Musgrove, who took the loss, was only going to pitch four innings no matter what. He was so efficient that he had to go down to the bullpen and throw another 25-30 pitches to make sure he got his work in.

“It’s just a shame that one swing cost him,” Ryan said. “Now he has an L beside his name, which is ridiculous.”

Musgrove now is expected to go to Triple-A for a couple of starts, and he would be in position to join the Pirates once he can go six innings or 100 pitches.

Musgrove came to the Bucs as part of the Gerrit Cole trade. While Cole is crushing it in Houston, setting strikeout records, unfortunately for Musgrove, he has yet to be able to show the Pirates what he can do because of the injury.

“It’s tough,” Musgrove said. “I’ve been through injuries before, so I’m getting more and more knowledgable how to handle them mentally. … But it’s tough being with a new organization and being traded for the guy I was traded for, I want to come over and make an impact and show them what I have to offer.

“But being on the DL early is a tough break, especially (because) I want to be out there with my teammates and show them what I can do and compete with them and contribute to the team, and I haven’t been able to do that.”

Game recap

Key player: Bowie LHP Jayson Aquino (1-0) shut out the Curve on one hit for seven innings, striking out seven with one walk. LHP Luis Gonzalez finished off the one-hit shutout for his fourth save.

Key play: 1B Corban Joseph homered in the first to put Bowie on top to stay.

Key stat: RHP Joe Musgrove threw 28 of his 34 pitches for strikes and gave up one run over four innings in a strong rehab outing for the Curve.

How they scored

Top 1st: Joseph solo homer (0-1).

Top 9th: Feliz reached on Craig error, scored on Yastrzemski single (0-2).

Next stop

Tonight: Bowie at Altoona, 6 p.m.

Pitchers: Curve RHP Mitch Keller (3-1, 2.73) vs. Baysox RHP Lucas Long (0-2, 6.08)

Record: 15-13

Brubaker to AAA

RHP J.T. Brubaker has been promoted from the Curve to Triple-A Indianapolis. Brubaker, the opening-day starter, was 2-2 with a 1.80 ERA in six starts.