The Curve have their first three-game winning streak of the season, and they appear to have turned a corner toward playing consistently instead of letting the season slip away, which looked like it might be the case a couple of weeks ago.
"I feel like we're on a good path right now," outfielder Mel Rojas Jr. said after Tuesday night's 5-3 win over Trenton before 2,453 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Rojas came through with a key two-run single in the third inning to break up a tie game and give Altoona a 4-2 lead. That's the kind of hit the team has been lacking for much of the season, but it's the kind the club has been getting more and more of lately.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Curve manager Carlos Garcia holds up Adalberto?Santos after he triples for Altoona in the first inning.
"It helps us a lot, especially since we've struggled a little bit offensively with runners in scoring position," Rojas said.
The Curve got a solid outing from starter Luis Sanz, who retired 13 in a row at one point, and the bullpen made the lead hold up. Sanz, who opened the season as the closer, gave up two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings in just his second start.
"Definitely he's got the stuff," manager Carlos Garcia said of Sanz, a career starter who's now in the rotation because of injuries to others. "He's got the breaking ball, he's got the changeup, he's got the fastball, so he can compete with those three pitches."
Jason Townsend (2) earned the save for the Curve, while Trenton starter Zach Nuding (1-5) took the loss.
The Curve had the Eastern League's worst record for a couple of weeks and bottomed out at eight games below .500. But they're now back to four under .500 with the three-game winning streak, and as badly as things went offensively for the team for a while, the way baseball works, it was bound to turn around at some point.
Garcia always knew it would.
"I always felt good about this team, regardless of the struggles we had early in the year," the manager said. "But now everything is starting to be more in control. Guys continue to play good, and things start falling our way now."
Key player: Curve CF Mel Rojas Jr. was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
Key play: Rojas' lone hit was a big one as it drove in two runs in the third for a 4-2 lead.
Key stat: The Curve's three-game winning streak is now their longest of the season.
How they scored
Bottom 1st: Santos tripled, scored on Lambo single (1-0).
Top 2nd: Murphy singled, scored on Heathcott single (1-1); Roller singled, scored on Castillo groundout (1-2).
Bottom 2nd: Paulino singled, scored on Vasquez triple (2-2).
Bottom 3rd: Santos walked, Cunningham walked, both scored on Rojas Jr. single (4-2).
Bottom 6th: Lambo singled, scored on Paulino bases-loaded walk (5-2).
Top 8th: Flores walked, scored on Austin single (5-3).