Curve slime Senators in Ghostbusters unis
Curve manager Michael Ryan was sitting in his office on Saturday morning watching SportsCenter on ESPN and out of nowhere, he heard his team mentioned.
It wasn’t for a spectacular play made on Friday night, but for Saturday’s promotion — Ghostbuster-themed jerseys.
Altoona was given “minor league promotion of the week” for the jerseys and Ryan immediately sent a text to Curve general manager Derek Martin to tell him.
“It was a great promotion and they did a great job with it,” Ryan said postgame.
Ryan, who admitted to being a big fan of the movies, couldn’t narrow down one favorite line from the original movie, but after his team’s 8-2 win over the Harrisburg Senators, it might just be this quote by Dr. Peter Venkman, played by legendary actor Bill Murray: “We came, we saw, we kicked its (butt).”
The Curve used a five-run third inning to cruise past the Senators in front of a crowd of 5,074 at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Altoona starter James Marvel got the big inning started, poking a ball down the left field line for a leadoff double.
“I know from a catching standpoint if an opposing pitcher gets a hit, it’s frustrating,” catcher Arden Pabst said. “I’m sure it was frustrating for the opposing pitcher and that’s a great way to start an inning.”
A walk, a pair of singles and a big two-out triple by Pabst were enough to give Marvel a 5-2 lead at that point. And according to his catcher, he was a different pitcher the rest of the night.
“He settled in. Honestly, he didn’t have his best [stuff] today, but we found what was working and he kinda stuck with it,” Pabst said. “Obviously that five-run inning — huge momentum shift — and [Marvel] understood that he just had to go out there and pound the zone and have quick, shutdown innings. After that five-run inning, he was kind of a different beast out there.”
“Big innings are huge,” Ryan added. “It just shows you, once we can put together some back-to-back hits, then our offense has the ability to score five in anning. I think the five in one inning took the pressure off Marvel. He had a lead — it’s one of the first times in his last few outings that we’ve had the lead for him.”
Marvel went on to deliver a quality start for the Curve and picked up his fourth win of the season in the process.
“Getting the leadoff guy out and being ahead in the count was huge for him. It’s been a little bit of a struggle the last three times out. But he made the adjustment and was able to go out today and give us six quality innings and keep us in the game.”
The win for Marvel was his first since April 26 and breaks a streak of three consecutive losses for the 6-foot-4 right hander out of Duke.
Once Marvel exited after six innings, reliever Joel Cesar came in and picked up right where Marvel left off.
Cesar made just his third appearance since being promoted from Class A-Advanced Bradenton, but he’s already made a strong impression on his manager.
“(He got) ahead in the count and then went right to that nasty slider,” Ryan said. “It’s a swing-and-miss pitch. He’s been such a bright spot for us since he’s come up from Bradenton and his slider is a really good pitch.”
Harrisburg threatened in Cesar’s first inning, allowing runners to reach second and third with just one out. But he struck out Senators leadoff man Hunter Jones and then produced a weak groundout to end the inning.
In the following inning, he shut Harrisburg down in order, lowering his earned run average to 1.80 in his first five Double-A innings.
“He’s got wipe-out stuff all-around. He settled in really nicely that second inning and it was amazing, too, the way he kinda just didn’t let the [seventh inning jam] turn into a big inning. He was suave out there. It was great to see him come in and put up two zeros.”
Key player: The middle of Altoona’s lineup — Logan Hill, Hunter Owen and Jerrick Suiter — was massive offensively, combining for six hits, five runs scored and a pair of RBIs in the game.
Key play: Leadoff man Mitchell Tolman delivered a pair of key insurance runs to push the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Key stat: Logan Hill extended his league-leading on-base streak to 15 games, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, pushing his batting average to .390 during the month of May.
How they scored
Top 2nd: Taylor homered. Wiseman walked, scored on sacrifice fly by Kieboom (0-2).
Bottom 3rd: Marvel doubled and scored on Madris’ single. Reyes walked, scored on Hill’s single. Suiter singles, both he and Hill scored on Pabst’s triple (5-2).
Bottom 8th: Owen singled, scored on Oliva’s hit-by-pitch. Suiter singled, Pope reached on a fielder’s choice, both scored on Tolman’s single (8-2).
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: Curve shortstop Stephen Alemais will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing successful labrum surgery on Saturday. The former third round draft pick out of Tulane is currently rated as the No. 25 overall prospect in the Pirates system, per MLB.com
SAFE AT FIRST: Logan Hill and Hunter Owen are proving to be a powerful duo in the middle of Altoona’s lineup. They’re hitting .304 and .308, respectively and are a big reason why the Curve’s offense has been on a tear the past week or so. Owen in particular sits tied for second in the Eastern League in RBIs with 31 on the year.
STEALING SECOND: “It’s not a coincidence that we’re starting to score runs in bunches and those two guys are producing in there, swinging the bats very well. When you get the middle of the order producing, you’re going to score some runs,” Ryan said. “(Hill) is a run producer. He has a better idea of what he wants to do at the plate. He’s getting into good offensive counts. A lot of credit needs to go to Hunter (Owen), who’s hitting behind him. He’s going to get some pitches to hit because Hunter is swinging the bat the way he is. It just makes them a dynamic one-two punch.”
ROUNDING THIRD: Curve catcher Arden Pabst also admitted to being a big fan of Ghostbusters and Saturday night’s promotion.
“They’re great. I’m a big Ghostbusters fan — I love Bill Murray,” he said. “It’s fun to do that stuff for the fans, I know they enjoyed it. It was a cool night.”
HEADING HOME: With Saturday night’s win, the Curve now move into second place in the EL Western Division, but still sit eight games behind Harrisburg for first place.