Hector Gimenez and pinch-hitter Brandon Jones slugged two-run homers and Matt Hague added a controversial three-run blast as the Altoona Curve scored 10 times in the ninth inning and rallied for an 18-15 victory at Harrisburg.
"I'm stunned that we lost a six-run lead in the ninth inning," Senators manager Randy Knorr told the (Harrisburg) Patriot-News. "As good as our bullpen has been this season, I never would have guessed that."
Knorr wasn't around at the finish. He and Harrisburg starter Aaron Thompson were ejected for arguing that Hague's go-ahead homer should have been a foul ball.
Knorr entrusted a 14-8 lead to Zech Zinicola, who had not allowed a run in his previous eight appearances and had served up just one homer over 27 innings all season. But Jordy Mercer drew a leadoff walk and Gimenez followed with his career-high 13th homer.
After Miles Durham walked, Jones connected for his first homer in 16 games since he was reassigned from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Still nursing a 14-12 lead, Knorr called on Jack Spradlin. Anthony Norman reached on second baseman Michael Martinez's error and raced to third on a single by Eastern League All-Star MVP Chase d'Arnaud. Gorkys Hernandez and Josh Harrison delivered RBI singles to forge a 14-14 tie.
Hague broke the deadlock with a shot down the left-field line that appeared foul to many at Metro Bank Park but was ruled a home run. After Knorr and Thompson were tossed, Mercer became the 10th consecutive member of the Curve to reach base when he singled up the middle.
Adam Carr relieved Spradlin (0-1) and struck out Gimenez as Mercer stole second. Durham doubled him home to cap the biggest inning in Altoona history.
The Curve also set records for runs in a game, homers in a game and homers in an inning. At 4 hours and 33 minutes, the game was the longest nine-inning contest in Altoona and Harrisburg history.