Curve bullpen falters

Next stop

Tonight: Altoona at Hartford, 6:15 pm.

Pitchers: Curve RHP Pedro Vasquez (6-1, 2.45) vs.Yard Goats TBD

Record: 1-1 (second half); 36-33 (overall)

From Mirror reports

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Curve’s best player and the Eastern League’s best player in the first half, Hunter Owen, is now gone to Triple-A, so it will be interesting to see how the club handles losing the big bat in the middle of the order for the second half.

Offense wasn’t the problem, though, in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to Hartford at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Altoona scored early and often and was up 6-5 entering the bottom of the eighth, but the pitching staff couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

Hartford’s Vance Vizcaino ripped a two-out, two-run double off reliever Joel Cesar in the eighth to give the home team a 7-6 lead. The Curve then went down in order in their final at-bat to drop to 1-1 in the second half.

Bligh Madris had a big night for the Curve with an RBI single in the first inning and two-run homer in the third.

Madris’ long ball gave Altoona a 4-2 lead, but Vizcaino hit Hartford’s third solo homer of the first three innings to make it 4-3 in the third. The Yard Goats then grabbed a 5-4 edge with a pair of runs in the fourth.

Curve starter Domingo Robles had a rough outing, allowing five runs on seven hits in four innings. Reliever Yeudy Garcia, however, followed up with three scoreless innings.

Altoona retook the lead, 6-5, with a pair of runs in the fifth, with Mitchell Tolman belting a homer and Robbie Glendinning putting the club ahead with an RBI double. It stayed 6-5 until the eighth, when Vizcaino delivered for the Yard Goats.

Mitch Horacek (1-0) won in relief for Hartford, while Logan Cozart tossed a perfect ninth for his fifth save. Five Yard Goat relievers combined to strike out 13 Curve hitters.

Roster moves

n Owen was officially promoted to Triple-A on Friday.

The Curve received a quality bat from high-A Bradenton in OF Chris Sharpe, who was hitting .292 with five homers, 30 RBIs and an .836 OPS for the Marauders.

Sharpe, batting second and playing left field, had a strong Double-A debut for the Curve, going 2-for-4 with a double, single and two runs.

n Reliever Tate Scioneaux, who has a special place in Curve history, was released by the Pirates on Friday. Scioneaux was the closer on the mound for the ninth inning of the 2017 Eastern League Championship Series clincher against Trenton, striking out all three batters swinging to finish off the franchise’s second league title.

In the team picture with the EL championship banner, Scioneaux is prominently placed front and center lying on the ground by himself in front of the banner.

The 26-year-old had major struggles this season, posting a 12.75 ERA in 13 outings, giving up 20 hits and 17 runs in only 12 innings.

The Pirates also released RH reliever Vicente Campos on Friday and sent RHP Scooter Hightower to Bradenton.

Game recap

Key player: LF Vance Vizcaino went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for Hartford.

Key play: Vizcaino’s two-run double in the eighth erased a 6-5 deficit and won it for the Yard Goats.

Key stat: The Curve led 2-0, 4-2 and 6-5 at various points but couldn’t protect the leads.

How they scored

Top 1st: Tolman singled, scored on Oliva groundout (1-0); Sharpe doubled, scored on Madris single (2-0).

Bottom 1st: Trejo solo homer (2-1).

Bottom 2nd: Boswell solo homer (2-2).

Top 3rd: Sharpe singled, scored on Madris two-run homer (4-2).

Bottom 3rd: Vizcaino solo homer (4-3).

Bottom 4th: Serven walked, Boswell singled, both scored on Foley double (4-5).

Top 5th: Tolman solo homer (5-5); Oliva walked, scored on Glendinning double (6-5).

Bottom 8th: Serven walked, Melendez singled, both scored on Vizcaino double (6-7).