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Curve shut out in first game of big series

BOWIE, Md. — The opening game of the biggest series of the season saw the Curve get exceptional pitching, but the offense fell flat.

Bowie snapped a scoreless tie with a run in the seventh inning, and that’s all the Baysox needed for a 1-0 win over Altoona at Prince George’s Stadium on Thursday night.

First-place Bowie picked up a game in the standings and now leads the Curve by 5 ¢ games. Altoona will have to win at least two of the next three games this weekend to avoid falling any further back.

Curve starter Cody Bolton tossed six superb innings, allowing just one hit and blanking Bowie. The right-hander struck out one and walked one but did not get a decision.

Joel Cesar relieved Bolton in the seventh, and Bowie immediately took advantage as Ryan McKenna greeted Cesar (2-3) with a double to left. Two batters later, Carlos Perez doubled to bring in Cesar with the game’s lone run.

The Curve threw out a runner at the plate on the play, keeping the deficit at 1-0. But that slim margin still turned out to be too much as Bowie finished off the shutout over the final two innings.

Dean Kremer (6-4) picked up the win for Bowie, blanking the Curve for seven innings on six hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. Jay Flaa worked the final two innings for his first save.

The Curve had seven hits to just three for Bowie, but Altoona’s offense went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

It was a terrific night for Bolton, however, as the prized pitching prospect had the kind of outing that was expected when he came up from high-A Bradenton. Bolton went 6-3 with a 1.61 ERA in 12 starts for the Marauders, but he entered his fourth Curve start with an eyesore of an ERA at 7.53 over 14 1/3 innings.

Curve manager Michael Ryan talked two days ago about what Bolton needed to do in order to have the same kind of success in he Double-A that he was having at Bradenton.

“He has to believe in his stuff,” Ryan said. “It’s a different level, I don’t know if that’s getting in his mind a little bit. It’s a higher level, but the stuff’s the same. That stuff can have success at any level, and that’s what he has to believe.”

SUBHD: Game recap

Key player: RHP Dean Kremer tossed seven shutout innings for Bowie, and RHP Cody Bolton blanked Bowie on one hit for six innings in a great pitcher’s dual.

Key play: The Baysox got a pair of doubles in the seventh inning to score the game’s lone run, with C Carlos Perez driving it home.

Key stat: The Curve dropped to 5 ¢ games behind the first-place Baysox.

SUBHD: How they scored

Bottom 7th: McKenna doubled, scored on Perez double (0-1).

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