Curve drop first game of doubleheader
As the 10th inning began and the game crept past five hours since the first pitch of the first game of the doubleheader between the Curve and the SeaWolves, the contest became about endurance.
In a game that started at 4:30 p.m. and featured a near-two and a half hour rain delay, it was Erie that was able to outlast Altoona by a final of 4-3 in the first of two games at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Tuesday night.
The conclusion of the second game came after the Mirror’s presstime.
The Curve bullpen was able to keep the SeaWolves scoreless from innings four through nine, but an unearned run in the top of the 10th that came on an error by Mitchell Tolman ensured the Curve would not pick up back-to-back wins against Erie.
With the Curve trailing 3-1 in the middle of the fourth inning, the rain started to come down and while it looked like it would only be a short delay, play didn’t resume until 8 p.m., which forced Erie to pull starting pitcher Matt Manning after just three innings of work. Manning entered the game second in the Eastern League in strikeouts and was able to hold the Curve to just one run on three hits while he was on the mound.
Altoona was able to jump on Erie reliever Jose Fernandez, tallying runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the ball game at three.
Catcher Jason Delay was the catalyst in both of those innings, leading off the fifth with a single and scoring a run and driving in Robbie Glendinning in the sixth.
Despite being named an Eastern League All-Star, Delay has been struggling since the start of June. After a May in which he hit .339, Delay hit .132 and .188, respectively, in June and so far in July.
The Vanderbilt product went 3-for-4 in game one with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Those two RBIs were just his second and third this month.
Outside of Delay, however, Altoona’s bats were kept quiet in game one. The rest of the team was just 5-for-29 in the game and 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine batters on the bases in the process.
Right hander Cody Bolton got the start for Altoona on Tuesday night and he was pulled even before the rain delay. He allowed three runs on five hits in three innings and manager Michael Ryan had seen enough, turning the ball over to Yeudy Garcia in the fourth. He and the rest of the bullpen were solid in relief.
Garcia needed just 11 pitches to work a scoreless top of the fourth inning but did not take the mound after the rain delay.
Angel German and Matt Eckelman would go on to pitch three innings apiece and neither allowed an earned run, but the new rules that places a runner on second base to begin each extra inning came back to bite the Curve in the 10th.
Key player: Erie’s Kody Eaves went 3-for-5 in the game with a run scored and two RBIs.
Key play: SeaWolves first baseman Frank Schwindel rocketed the ball off the glove of Mitchell Tolman and into center field, allowing the eventual winning run to score in the top of the 10th inning.
Key stat: Curve reliever suffered the loss in the game, despite allowing just one hit in three innings of work. The go-ahead run scored in the top of the 10th was unearned.
How they scored
Top 2nd: Eaves singled, scored on Gibson’s fielder’s choice (0-1).
Bottom 2nd: Madris walked, scored on Delay’s single (1-1).
Top 3rd: Numata singled, Hill walked, both scored on Eaves’ single (1-3).
Bottom 5th: Delay singled, scored on Tolman’s single (2-3).
Bottom 6th: Glendinning walked, scored on Delay’s single (3-3).
Top 10th: Hill started inning at second base, scored on error by Tolman (3-4).
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: After his stellar start on Tuesday night, left hander Brandon Waddell was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis. Waddell made seven starts with the Curve after being sent down in mid-June. He posted a 3-1 record with a 2.23 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 36.1 innings with Altoona.
SAFE AT FIRST: Curve slugger Logan Hill was not in the lineup for either of Tuesday night’s games, but was listed on the bench for both after leaving Monday’s game early with a hand injury.
STEALING SECOND: Right hander Nick Economos made his Double-A debut, getting the start in game two. He was called up from High-A Bradenton on Tuesday and posted a 4-3 record with a 2.01 ERA in 11 starts for the Marauders this season.
ROUNDING THIRD: Jared Oliva’s nine-game hitting streak was snapped in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader. The hot-hitting Altoona outfielder went 0-for-5 with a strikeout in the game but is still hitting .392 in the month of July.
HEADING HOME: The Curve and SeaWolves continue to go back-and-forth this season. After Erie’s 4-3 victory in game one, Altoona leads the season series 13-8.
Today: Erie at Altoona, noon
Pitchers: Curve LHP Domingo Robles (2-3, 5.15) vs. SeaWolves RHP Kyle Funkhouser (1-1, 2.53)
Record: 17-14 (second half); 52-46 (overall)