Magic number is 1 for Curve to capture title

From Mirror reports

BOWIE, Md. — The Curve’s magic number is down to one for clinching a division title with two days left in the regular season.

Altoona knocked off Bowie for a second straight game Saturday night, 6-3, at Prince George’s Stadium. The Curve have a one-game lead over Akron and can clinch their second straight Western Division regular-season title with either one more win or one more loss by the RubberDucks.

If the two teams finish tied, the Curve will be the division winner based on winning the season series against Akron.

If Altoona does win the division, it will travel to Akron for playoff games 1 and 2 on Wednesday and Thursday, then host games 3 through 5 Friday to Sunday. The Saturday game (if necessary) would be played at 4 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field, so as not to conflict with Penn State’s night game at Pitt.

Playoff tickets are available for $5 for any seat in PNG Field, or $25 for all five potential playoff games.

The Curve jumped out to a 3-0 lead Saturday before Bowie tied it on a three-run homer in the seventh by Martin Cervenka. That came off relief pitcher and former position player Elvis Escobar, but Escobar remained in the game and wound up getting the win in his second appearance as a full-time Double-A pitcher.

The Curve took advantage of a couple errors by Bowie to score three runs in the ninth inning for a 6-3 lead. An error allowed the go-ahead run to score, then Bryan Reynolds tripled home two insurance runs.

Escobar (1-0) pitched two innings and got the win, while Geoff Hartlieb closed it out in the ninth for his 10th save. Branden Kline (4-4) took the loss in relief for Bowie.

Will Craig became just the second Curve player to drive in 100 runs in a season, reaching the milestone with a run-scoring double in the first. Craig has two games left to try and catch Adam Hyzdu’s Curve record of 106 RBIs set in 2000.

The Curve have matched their season high by getting to 18 games over .500.

Game recap

Key player: 1B Will Craig went 3-for-5 and drove in his 100th run of the season.

Key play: The Curve scored three runs in the ninth to break up a tie game.

Key stat: Altoona’s magic number is down to one to clinch the division title with two games to play.

How they scored

Top 1st: Reynolds walked, scored on Craig double (1-0).

Top 6th: Craig singled, scored on Hill double (2-0); Jhang singled, scored on Tate wild pitch (3-0).

Bottom 7th: Diaz doubled, Feliz walked, both scored on Cervenka three-run homer (3-3).

Top 9th: Reyes bunt single, scored on Rodriguez error (4-3) that allowed Alemais to reach; Tucker reached on Feliz error, scored along with Alemais on Reynolds triple (6-3).

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