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Bad trip continues for Curve

PORTLAND, Maine — There are bad losses and bad road trips, and the Curve haven’t been able to avoid either over the past week.

Altoona is having one of the worst road trips in franchise history, dropping to 1-6 with Monday afternoon’s 7-3 loss to Portland at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs came into the series with the worst record in the Eastern League at 13-31, yet they were able to take three of four against the Curve. That was on the heels of Altoona getting swept in a three-game series at New Hampshire to start the trip.

Now the Curve head to Trenton for three games to take on the best team in the Eastern Division, with the Thunder holding a 29-19 record. They’re also a whopping 18-5 at home, so the next three days could be tough for the Curve.

Monday’s bus ride from Portland to Trenton had to be tough given how Altoona lost the game.

The Curve trailed 3-0 in the seventh inning before clawing back. They got single runs in the seventh and eighth, then Jared Oliva came through with a clutch homer in the ninth to tie things at 3-3.

But all the momentum in coming back couldn’t prevent the Curve from having to deal with a brutal bottom of the ninth inning.

Closer Matt Eckelman came on for the ninth and retired the first batter he faced, then gave up a single. Eckelman got a popup to shortstop for the second out, but he walked the next two batters to load the bases.

Tate Matheny stepped up and gave the home crowd a thrilling finish on Memorial Day with a walk-off grand slam against Eckelman (1-2).

Durbin Feltman (2-1) won in relief for Portland. Dedgar Jimenez pitched six shutout innings for the Sea Dogs before Altoona got to the bullpen.

Eckelman had a tough couple of outings in the series. He was used as an opener in Saturday’s game but allowed five runs in the first inning of what turned out to be a 5-3 loss. With Monday’s game, Eckelman allowed nine runs in only 1ª innings in the series, raising his ERA to 7.02.

Roster moves

The Curve lost one of their best pitchers to Triple-A on Monday as lefty Cam Vieaux (2-3, 2.86) was promoted to Indianapolis.

Veteran RHP Austin Coley was assigned to the Curve from high-A Bradenton and started Sunday’s game, giving up one run on three hits in two innings.

RHP Scooter Hightower was placed on the temporary inactive list, while RHP Ryan Valdes was from promoted to Altoona from Bradenton.

Game recap

Key player: CF Tate Matheny went 2-for-5 with a grand slam for Portland.

Key play: Matheny’s slam won it in walk-off fashion in the ninth.

Key stat: The Curve are 1-6 on this road trip and lost three of four to a team that came in with a 13-31 record.

How they scored

Bottom 2nd: Matheny doubled, scored on Tendler single (0-1).

Bottom 5th: Rivera singled, scored on Dalbec single (0-2); Netzer singled, scored on Tobias single (0-3).

Top 7th: Reyes walked, scored on Nunez passed ball (1-3).

Top 8th: Tolman singled, scored on Reyes single (2-3).

Top 9th: Oliva solo homer (3-3).

Bottom 9th: Netzer singled, Tobias walked, Asche walked, all scored on Matheny grand slam (3-7).

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