HARRISBURG - The Curve's pitching staff has been superb so far this season, and the team will get a major league addition Saturday when Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano makes a rehab start in Harrisburg.
Liriano is coming back from a broken right arm and is expected to throw four innings or 65 pitches. He threw three no-hit innings in his first rehab start Tuesday for Single-A Bradenton.
The Curve entered play Thursday at Harrisburg with the Eastern League's best team ERA, boasting a 3.31 mark through 13 games. The starters have been solid all season, and that trend continued with Stolmy Pimentel allowing just one run in five innings.
The Senators took control of the game, however, with four runs against reliever Ethan Hollingsworth in the sixth inning and held off a Curve rally for a 5-4 win at Metro Bank Park.
Altoona has had trouble scoring runs for the past week, and that continued for eight innings as the club managed only one run. The Curve staged a comeback in their final at-bat, though, as Stefan Welch belted a two-out, three-run homer to pull his team within a run and make things interesting.
But Altoona's hopes ended seconds later when Aaron Barrett retired Alex Dickerson to end the game and earn his second save.
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Curve have had a lot of major leaguers rehab in Altoona over the years, but it hasn't happened much with the team on the road. LHP Francisco Liriano will rehab with the club Saturday at Harrisburg. Other Pirates pitchers who have rehabbed on the road with the Curve over the years include Kris Benson, Jason Schmidt and Ross Ohlendorf.
SAFE AT FIRST: Matt Curry returned to the Curve lineup Thursday after missing a couple of games with a minor wrist issue. Curry, who started in left field Thursday, got off to a strong start this season but has gone 1-for-16 the past four games to see his average dip to .235.
STEALING SECOND: Entering play Thursday, the Curve were averaging 5.83 runs in their six road games, compared to just 2.0 runs in seven home games.
ROUNDING THIRD: Former Curve IF Jim Negrych hit for the cycle Thursday for Triple-A Buffalo (Blue Jays). Negrych is off to an incredible start, hitting .515 (17-for-33) in nine games, including a 4-for-7 effort with the cycle yesterday.
HEADING HOME: Negrych's team had an incredible day at the plate in a 27-9 win over Syracuse. The club collected 29 hits and belted five homers, including one by former Pirates IF Andy LaRoche.
- Cory Giger
Hollingsworth (0-1) took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits in three innings. Caleb Clay won for the Senators, allowing one run on only three hits in six innings with five strikeouts and no walks.
Pimentel had not allowed a run in his first 12 innings this season, but he surrendered one in the first Thursday. The Curve got that run back in the fourth as Jarek Cunningham tripled and scored on a single by Andrew Lambo.
Key player: Senators RHP Caleb Clay held the Curve to one run on three hits in six innings.
Key play: PH Sean Nicol singled home two runs in the sixth for a 3-1 Harrisburg lead.
Key stat: The Curve entered the game leading the Eastern League with a 3.31 team ERA.
Bottom 1st: Goodwin singled, scored on Hood groundout (0-1).
Top 4th: Cunningham tripled, scored on Lambo single (1-1).
Bottom 6th: Leon singled, Johnson doubled, both scored on Nicol single (1-3); Goodwin triple scored Nicol (1-4); Lozada sacrifice fly scored Goodwin (1-5).
Top 9th: Rojas walked, Cunningham reached on Rendon error, both scored on Welch three-run homer (4-5).