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Curve want to finish season strong

The Curve have struggled lately and have less than a month to try and finish the season on a strong note. But what exactly would that entail?

The playoffs are out of the question, but the team is 59-60, so maybe .500 is the motivational goal at this point.

Manager Michael Ryan was asked what he will use to motivate the club the rest of the way following Sunday night’s 7-3 loss to Reading before a huge “Faith Night” crowd of 8,656 at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

“I don’t think that the wins and losses really matter, honestly, right now,” Ryan said. “We talked about it the other day: Can you play unselfishly? We asked them how many days we have left. One guy answered right away. At that time it was 26 days.

“There’s guys in the room that are playing the 26 days, it’s the last time they’re ever going to play together. That’s just reality. There’s guys that are not going to play after this 26 days. There’s guys that are trying to stay in the organization after the 26 days. And there’s guys that are trying to move up and try to get a job in these next 26 days.”

Ryan wants the players to end the season with a “good taste in your mouth.”

“You’ve got 26 days to do that,” he said. “If you play unselfish baseball, the success will come and you won’t try to press and just try to get your own numbers. I think that’s what’s been going on a little bit — guys are just trying to catch up, and when you try to do that, those numbers are going to go down.”

At this stage in the season, should the manager have to continue to remind the players about playing unselfish baseball?

“It should be to the point where they should know that, but it’s still to the point where we have to remind them,” Ryan said. “It’s the situation that we’ve been in all year, and it is what it is.”

The Curve and Reading were tied 3-3 entering the ninth before the Fightin Phils scored four runs off Altoona closer Matt Eckelman. It was not a save situation for Eckelman (1-5), who has been excellent in those opportunities all year, and Reading got to him for four runs on three hits and two walks.

Jeff Singer (6-0) got the win for the Fightin Phils, who lead the Eastern Division and appear to be on their way to the playoffs.

The Curve are off today, then play three games at Harrisburg starting Tuesday. They’ll be back home Friday for a six-game homestand.

Game recap

Key player: LF Josh Stephen went 2-for-5 with two RBIs for Reading.

Key play: Stephen’s RBI double ignited a four-run ninth inning for the Fightin Phils.

Key stat: Pirates C Francisco Cervelli went 1-for-3 with a double in his lone rehab game for the Curve.

How they scored

Bottom 3rd: Tolman singled, scored on Cruz sacrifice fly (1-0).

Top 5th: Williams walked, scored on Moniak two-run homer (1-2); Bohm doubled, scored on Stephen single (1-3).

Bottom 6th: Hill doubled, scored on Madris single (2-3); Sharpe groundout scored Madris (3-3).

Top 9th: Bohm walked, scored on Stephen double (3-4); Hall singled, scored along with Stephen on Lartigue single (3-6); Maton intentionally walked, scored on Pope error (3-7).

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