Curve roughed up by Senators in series opener

HARRISBURG — The Curve lost one of their best pitchers at the trade deadline, then saw another one of their best starters endure a rough outing Tuesday night.

Cam Vieaux gave up seven runs in six innings, and Harrisburg cruised to an 11-3 win in the opener of a key three-game series at FNB Field.

Altoona entered the day with a three-game lead over Harrisburg for the final playoff spot in the Western Division, but the Senators sliced a game off that margin.

It was an uneasy day for the Curve, a club made up of highly rated prospects, many of whom had to be wondering if they might be dealt on MLB trade deadline day. They saw one of their teammates, lefty Taylor Hearn, sent to the Texas Rangers, and it’s actually a bit of a surprise that he was the only Curve player traded given that the Pirates pulled off two big deals.

The Bucs also will have to give up two players to be named later to complete Tuesday’s trades, and there’s a chance at least one of those could come from the Curve.

Altoona entered Tuesday’s contest nine games over .500 and with a chance to reach 10 for the first time in more than two seasons. They trailed just 3-2 entering the sixth inning before Harrisburg broke it open with four runs, capped by a three-run homer from Drew Ward off Vieaux (6-3).

Reliever Yeudy Garcia gave up four runs in the seventh inning as the Senators poured it on.

Sterling Sharp (3-1) got the win for Harrisburg, allowing two runs — one earned — in five innings.

Will Craig had an RBI double for the Curve, giving him 85 RBIs for the season. Craig’s total already is the fifth most in franchise history, and he’s now just 21 behind Adam Hyzdu’s record of 106 set in 2000.

Game recap

Key player: 1B Drew Ward went 2-for-3 with five RBIs for Harrisburg.

Key play: The Senators broke it open on Ward’s three-run homer in the sixth for a 7-2 lead.

Key stat: The Curve’s lead over Harrisburg is at two games.

How they scored

Top 2nd: George walked, scored on Vieaux groundout (1-0).

Bottom 3rd: Johnson singled, scored on Read triple (1-1); Noll two-run homer scored Read (1-3).

Top 5th: Hayes doubled, scored on George single (2-3).

Bottom 6th: Read walked, scored on Keller single (2-4); Noll doubled, scored along with Keller on Ward three-run homer (2-7).

Top 7th: Reynolds singled, scored on Craig double (3-7).

Top 7th: Johnson singled, Read walked, both scored on Ward single (3-9); Keller reached on fielder’s choice, scored on Kelley passed ball (3-10); Abreu double scored Ward (3-11).