Jhang, Marvel lead Curve past Fisher Cats

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Jin-De Jhang knows a thing or two about coming up with big hits at this time of year, and he delivered the biggest one Wednesday night to help the Curve move a little closer to first place.

Jhang broke up a tie game with a two-run double in the seventh inning, and Altoona held on for a 3-2 win over New Hampshire at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. James Marvel turned in a strong outing over seven innings, and the bullpen got the job done at the end to close things out.

The Curve now trail first-place Akron by just a game and a half in the Western Division, and they’ve stretched their lead over third-place Harrisburg to four games for the final playoff spot.

Wednesday’s victory moved Altoona 12 games above .500 for the first time this season.

The Curve appear to be peaking at the right time, just as they did late last season when they won the Eastern League championship. In the clinching victory a year ago against Trenton, Jhang drilled a go-ahead three-run triple that was the biggest hit in Curve history.

Wednesday’s game was tied at 1-1 when Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds both walked in the seventh. Two batters later, Jhang smacked a double down the right field line to bring in both runners for a 3-1 lead.

New Hampshire pulled within 3-2 on a solo homer in the eighth and was in position to tie or take the lead, but a baserunning gaffe ended the threat.

Sean Keselica gave up a two-out homer to Max Pentecost to make it 3-2. Keselica then walked the next two batters and gave way to Matt Eckelman.

Connor Panas hit an infield single that was knocked down by Curve shortstop Cole Tucker. Forrest Wall was given the stop sign as he rounded third, but Wall ran through it, and Tucker threw to the plate to retire him for the third out.

Eckelman worked around a leadoff single in the ninth inning and stranded the tying run at second to finish off the win and earn his eighth save.

Marvel (1-1), in his second start since coming up from high-A Bradenton, allowed just one run on four hits over seven innings, striking out five with one walk.

Kirby Snead (3-4) took the loss in relief, giving up two runs in the seventh.

The Curve had only four hits, but Hayes collected one of them to run his hitting streak to 16 games, the club’s longest of the season.

SUBHD: Game recap

Key player: RHP James Marvel gave up one run on four hits in seven innings to win for the Curve.

Key play: DH Jin-De Jhang hit a two-run double for a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning.

Key stat: The Curve are only one game out of first place and hold a four-game lead for second place.

SUBHD: How they scored

Top 3rd: George solo homer (1-0).

Bottom 5th: Wall doubled, scored on Panas single (1-1).

Top 7th: Hayes walked, Reynolds walked, both scored on Jhang double (3-1).

Bottom 8th: Pentecost solo homer (3-2).