TRENTON, N.J. - Gerrit Cole hung tough without his best stuff to keep his team in the game early, then the Curve offense unleashed a bunch of frustration against Trenton on Wednesday afternoon.
Altoona pounded the Thunder, 14-2, and swept the three-game series at Waterfront Park. Cole lasted just 4 innings because of an elevated pitch count and didn't get a decision.
Trenton leads the Eastern Division with a 73-57 record and has been swept in a series by only one team all season - Altoona. The Curve have pulled off that feat twice - this week and at Peoples Natural Gas Field from Aug. 10-12.
Those six wins over the Thunder were interrupted by a six-game losing streak for Altoona, which extended the team's road losing streak to 13 games. So even during the roughest patch of the season - a patch that ultimately likely will doom the Curve's playoff hopes - they still managed to repeatedly beat a Thunder team that's one of the league's best.
Cole nearly didn't make it out of the first inning as he threw 34 pitches and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. He was allowed to come back out for the second - the Pirates often have not allowed that with pitchers who throw so many pitches in the first inning - and Cole blanked the Thunder over his final 3 innings.
Cole had a 9-2 lead entering the bottom of the fifth, but he couldn't get through five innings to qualify for the win. He was lifted after throwing 98 pitches (66 strikes) and giving up two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks.
Tonight: Richmond at Altoona, 7 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve RHP Tyler Waldron (1-1, 6.75) vs. Flying Squirrels RHP Chris Heston (9-5, 2.08)
Quincy Latimore and the Curve offense put together two big innings in the middle of the game to give the visitors a huge lead. Altoona scored five times in the fourth inning and four more in the fifth for the 9-2 advantage.
Latimore had an RBI single to get the Curve on the board in the fourth, and he belted a two-run homer in the fifth for the seven-run lead. Latimore finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs and three runs.
Ramon Cabrera, Charlie Cutler and Stefan Welch each had two hits and two RBIs for the Curve. Cutler also scored three runs, while Matt Curry had two hits, two walks and two runs.
Jason Townsend (1-0), just up from high-A Bradenton, pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win. He allowed only two hits while striking out two with no walks.
Trenton starter Dellin Balances (3-4) gave up five runs in four innings for the loss.
Key player: CF Quincy Latimore went 3-for-4 with a homer, four RBIs and three runs.
Key play: C Ramon Cabrera singled home a pair to cap a five-run fourth inning that gave the Curve control with a 5-2 lead.
Key stat: The Curve are the only team to sweep a series against Trenton all season, and they've done that in each of the past two series.
How they scored
Bottom 1st: Garcia doubled, scored on Adams single (0-1); Maruszak single scored Adams (0-2).
Top 4th: Lambo walked, scored on Latimore single (1-2); Curry scored singled, scored on Welch bases-loaded walk (2-2); Cutlet hit by pitch, scored on Maggi hit by pitch with bases loaded (3-2); Cabrera single scored Latimore, Welch (5-2).
Top 5th: Curry reached in Ibarra error, Tejeda walked, both scored on Cutler double (7-2); Latimore two-run homer scored Cutler (9-2).
Top 7th: Cutler tripled, scored on Latimore single (10-2); Maggi reached on fielder's choice, scored on Santos single (11-2).
Top 9th: Latimore walked, scored on Welch double (12-2); Santos groundout scored Welch (13-2); Cabrera doubled, scored on Lambo double (14-2).