Curve blow lead in loss to first-place Thunder
El Baseball: Trenton 6, Altoona 5
TRENTON, N.J. — One of the worst road trips in Curve history continued Tuesday night as the team found yet another tough way to lose.
Altoona led 5-1 after 4¢ innings but squandered the big cushion and fell to Trenton, 6-5, at Arm & Hammer Park. The Curve dropped to 1-7 on their season-long 10-game road trip and still have two games left to play at first-place Trenton, which is 19-5 at home.
Altoona opened the season 5-0 but has been wildly inconsistent since then, with Tuesday’s loss dropping the club to 23-27. It’s the first time the Curve, who have made the playoffs four straight years, have dropped to four games below .500 since May 7, 2016.
Things may not be getting much better any time soon, either. The Pirates keep losing players to injuries day after day, forcing the organization to move players up the ladder. The Curve can’t seem to make it longer than a day or two without seeing someone else sent up to Triple-A.
Tuesday saw the Double-A debut of right-hander Domingo Robles, just called up from high-A Bradenton, where he was 5-5 with a 2.61 ERA. Robles, who just turned 21 on April 29, allowed only 47 hits in 62 innings for the Marauders.
Robles had a decent debut and was in position to get the victory when he departed after five innings. He allowed three runs — two earned — on seven hits, striking out six with one walk.
The Curve scored five runs with two outs in the fourth inning to give Robles the lead. Arden Pabst had a two-run single, Bralin Jackson a two-run triple and Brett Pope an RBI single to cap the scoring for a 5-1 lead.
Trenton charged back, though, on a rainy night that saw the game delayed twice. The Thunder scored twice in their half of the fourth off Robles, then pulled within 5-4 in the sixth.
Reliever Yeudy Garcia was on the mound in the seventh trying to hold on to the lead, but he allowed a two-run single to Rashad Crawford that put Trenton up 6-5.
Garcia (0-1), in his third season with the Curve, is having a tough year as he saw his ERA swell to 7.66 after allowing three runs in two innings Tuesday.
Trevor Lane (3-0) won in relief for the Thunder, while Daniel Alvarez pitched a quick ninth inning to earn his seventh save.
Pope went 3-for-3 for the Curve, but the rest of the team had only four hits.
Robles was just added to the roster Tuesday, with INF Alfredo Reyes going back to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Key player: DH Chris Gittens went 3-for-4 with a homer for Trenton.
Key play: RF Rashad Crawford’s two-run single put the Thunder up 6-5 in the seventh and decided the game.
Key stat: The Curve are 1-7 on this road trip.
How they scored
Bottom 1st: Rijo singled, scored on Gittens single (0-1).
Top 4th: Hill walked, Suiter singled, both scored on Pabst single (2-1); Tolman walked, Pabst singled, both scored on Jackson triple (4-1); Pope single scored Jackson (5-1).
Bottom 4th: Gittens solo homer (5-2); Lipka singled, scored on Park single (5-3).
Bottom 6th: Holder doubled, scored on Saez single (5-4).
Bottom 7th: Park reached on fielder’s choice, Zehner reached on fielder’s choice, both scored on Crawford single (5-6).