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Curve hot streak could lead to playoff push

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The red-hot Curve continue to excel as the first half of the Eastern League season winds down, giving plenty of hope for a strong push at a playoff run in the second half.

Altoona won its third straight game, 5-1, Saturday night at Binghamton’s NYSEG Stadium to improve its league-best June record to 11-3. The Curve also have won seven of eight and are three games over .500 for the first time since the second week of the season.

Pedro Vasquez (6-1) continued Altoona’s outstanding starting pitching during the hot streak as he gave up just one run and four hits over seven innings. The right-hander struck out out four and walked one, and he regrouped after giving up a first-inning run to blank the Rumble Ponies the rest of his night.

Hunter Owen tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning with his 15th home run, which leads the EL.

Owen entered the day leading the league in hitting at .300 but is now second to Binghamton’s Braxton Lee (.304). Owen also is second in the league in RBIs with 43, making him a clear triple crown threat if he stays in the EL all season.

Bligh Madris delivered the big hit of the night with a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth for a 3-1 lead. Jerrick Suiter added more insurance in the seventh with a two-run single.

Luc Rennie (0-1) took the loss for Binghamton, allowing three runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight but also walked four.

Yeudy Garcia finished off Altoona’s strong pitching night with two scoreless innings.

SUBHD: Another to majors

Dario Agrazal became the 169th former Curve player to reach the major leagues when he debuted for the Pirates on Saturday at Miami.

Agrazal was with the Curve this season and the past two years. He went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in four starts for Altoona this year.

He’s the first member of this year’s team to reach the majors. All told, 11 former Curve players have made their big league debuts this season.

SUBHD: Game recap

Key player: RHP Pedro Vasquez gave up just one run and four hits over seven innings to win for the Curve.

Key play: RF Bligh Madris drilled a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth for Altoona.

Key stat: The Curve have won three in a row and seven of eight, and they are 11-3 in June.

SUBHD: How they scored

Bottom 1st: Gimenez tripled, scored on Lee groundout (0-1).

Top 4th: Owen solo homer (1-1).

Top 6th: Owen walked, scored on Madris two-run homer (3-1).

Top 7th: Vasquez singled, Glendinning walked, both scored on Suiter single (5-1).

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