Curve get relief when it’s needed

From Mirror reports

ERIE — If the Altoona Curve had plans to provide as much comfort as possible for their pitcher making his first start in six weeks, they executed the plan to perfection on Saturday night.

Three first-inning Altoona runs allowed for starter Austin Coley to settle in nicely as the Curve topped Erie, 4-2, at UPMC Park, giving Altoona its sixth win in seven games. It also moved the team to a season-high eight games above .500.

Last season’s championship winning Curve team finished the year just eight games over .500 (74-66) and would merely need to go .500 the rest of the season to likely reach the playoffs again.

Saturday’s victory, paired with a Harrisburg loss, further cushions the Curve’s hold of second place to two games in the Western Division standings, 3.5 games back of the leading RubberDucks with 50 games left to play. The top two teams from each division qualify for the playoffs.

With one out in the first, the Curve strung together five straight hits for and early 3-0 lead off starter Kyle Dawdy. In the first, Will Craig knocked in his 65th run of the season with a double.

Both starting pitchers were making their first Double-A start since May, with Coley being activated off the disabled list. Dawdy was just sent down from Triple-A Toledo.

Neither were efficient with their pitch count, but Coley retired nine-straight Erie batters early in the game before being pulled for Tate Scioneaux to start the fourth.

Scioneaux pitched three innings in relief for his second win of the season, while Matt Eckelman recorded his third save

In total, Altoona used four different pitchers, just a day removed from using all but two of their bullpen pitchers in its doubleheader on Friday.

Erie received little effective help from its own pen as Sandy Baez came in to relieve Dawdy in the seventh. He threw eight consecutive balls to begin his stint, walking in the Curve’s fourth run.

GAME NOTES: The Curve close out their series with Erie today before returning home for three games. The team will again be without Ke’Bryan Hayes. He is in Washington D.C. with fellow ex-Curve teammate Mitch Keller for the All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park.

Game recap

Key player: 3B Jordan George was 2-4 with a walk and two RBIs.

Key play: LF Bryan Reynolds threw out Sergio Alcantara at home plate to end the fifth inning and strand two SeaWolves on base.

Key stat: DH Logan Hill extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games.

How they scored

Top 1st: Alemais singled, scored on Craig double (1-0); Reynolds walked, scored on George single (2-0); Hill singled, scored Craig (3-0).

Bottom 5th: Gibson singled, scored on Maddox sac-fly (3-1).

Top 7th: Tucker singled, scored on George walk (4-1).

Bottom 9th: Gibson walked, scored on Maddox single (4-2).