Curve stretch lead back to 3 over Senators

HARRISBURG — Ke’Bryan Hayes homered in the first inning, and that’s all the offense the Curve needed in a rain-shortened game Wednesday night.

Austin Coley tossed five shutout innings, then two relievers finished off what turned out to be a seven-inning shutout as Altoona beat Harrisburg, 1-0, at FNB Field. Play was halted after seven innings and never resumed, and the Curve evened up their big three-game series against the Senators at one apiece.

Altoona once again holds a three-game lead over Harrisburg for the final playoff spot in the Western Division.

The Curve also got back to nine games over .500, matching their high point of the past two seasons.

The teams will wrap up the series tonight, then the Curve return home to face first-place Akron for three games this weekend.

Hayes belted a solo homer off Senators starter Wirkin Esteves (1-4) in the first inning, one of only three hits by the Curve on the night, but it turned out to be the only one that mattered.

Coley (2-0) blanked Harrisburg on five hits, struck out two and walked one to pick up the victory. Bret Helton pitched the sixth inning, then Geoff Hartlieb tossed the seventh to earn his seventh save.

News and notes

Former Curve RHP Alex McRae made his major league debut Wednesday night for the Pirates. He tossed three innings of relief against the Cubs, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

Former Curve and Pirates RHP Brandon Cumpton returned to the major leagues for the first time in four years Tuesday night when he pitched for the Blue Jays. Cumpton pitched for the Pirates in 2013 and ’14 before missing the next two seasons with injuries, including Tommy John surgery.

Former Curve OF Stetson Allie, now pitching, has been promoted to Triple-A by the Dodgers. Allie went 1-0 with three saves and a 2.84 ERA in 11 games for Double-A Tulsa, striking out 18 and walking eight in 12 2/3 innings.

Allie is tied with Adam Hyzdu and Josh Bonifay for most career home runs (55) in Curve history.

OF Bralin Jackson was activated from the disabled list.

Game recap

Key player: RHP Austin Coley pitched five shutout innings to win for the Curve.

Key play: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes’ solo homer in the first inning was the game’s lone run.

Key stat: The Curve once again lead Harrisburg by three games for the final playoff spot.

How they scored

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