Curve no-hit again
TRENTON, N.J. — The Curve have had some major ups and downs this season, and they hit another one of the biggest downs Thursday night when they were no-hit for the second time.
Right-hander Brian Keller held Altoona hitless for all seven innings in the first game of a doubleheader as Trenton won, 2-0, at Arm & Hammer Park. The Curve bounced back to win the nightcap, 4-2, to avoid falling below .500.
Keller (3-1) struck out six and walked one in his no-hitter, with the lone Curve baserunner coming on a leadoff walk by Logan Hill in the second inning. Keller faced just one batter over the minimum.
The Curve also were no-hit by Erie’s Casey Mize on April 29, which was the first nine-inning no-hitter ever by one pitcher at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The 25-year-old Keller, a 39th round draft pick by the Yankees in 2016, came into the game with a 2.78 ERA. He’s had a solid minor league career, posting a 2.99 ERA in 66 games (54 starts) over four years.
The Thunder gave Keller an early lead with a run in the second inning off Curve starter Pedro Vasquez as Brandon Wagner doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Brian Navarreto.
Trenton’s other run came in the third on an RBI double by Ben Ruta.
Vasquez (6-3) took the loss but pitched well, giving up just the two runs on five hits over six innings.
The Curve not only had to deal with the disappointment of being no-hit in the opener, they also fell behind 2-0 in the first inning of game two.
But Altoona showed great resiliency by coming back to win the nightcap, thanks to a pair of home runs. Hill blasted a solo shot in the second inning, and newly added Darnell Sweeney hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the third to make it 3-2.
Altoona added an insurance run in the seventh.
Beau Sulser (8-1), a reliever making a spot start, picked up the win, giving up two runs on three hits over five innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Matt Eckelman finished it off in the seventh for his 20th save.
Trenton starter Shawn Semple (0-2) went all seven innings but gave up four runs for the loss.
Losing the first game dropped the Curve to 54-54 on the season, but they avoided falling below .500 with the comeback in game two. Altoona hasn’t been below .500 since June 8.
SUBHD: How they scored
Bottom 2nd: Wagner doubled, scored on Navarreto sacrifice fly (0-1).
Bottom 3rd: Crawford singled, scored on Ruta double (0-2).
Bottom 1st: Ruta singled, Park walked, both scored on Gittens double (0-2).
Top 2nd: Hill solo homer (1-2).
Top 3rd: Pope singled, scored on Sweeney two-run homer (3-2).
Top 7th: Madris reached on Park error, scored on Pope single (4-2).