(Trenton, NJ) - Zoilo Almonte homered as part of a two-run seventh inning and Brett Marshall combined with two relievers on a six-hitter as the Trenton Thunder snuck past the Altoona Curve, 2-1, Tuesday night at Waterfront Park in front of 5,906 fans for the team's fifth consecutive victory. Marshall allowed only one run in six innings as Trenton (65-44) finished the month of July at 21-9, the best month for any team in the Eastern League this season.
Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, Almonte led off against reliever Hunter Strickland (2-1) with a first-pitch opposite field home run to left, his 13th of the season. The next batter Melky Mesa reached on an error by Altoona shortstop Brock Holt, and Luke Murton singled to move Mesa to second. After Kevin Mahoney's fielder's choice advanced Mesa to third, J.R. Murphy lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate the go-ahead run.
Marshall and Gerrit Cole, last year's overall number one draft pick by the Pirates, each tossed six strong innings. Marshall allowed a run on Oscar Tejeda's solo homer in the second, one of four hits against him. Cole shutout the Thunder on three hits, striking out six and walking only one.
Kelvin Perez (6-1) worked out of jams in the seventh and eighth innings to earn the win. Ryan Pope pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth, striking out the final two batters to end the one-run win.
The Thunder and Curve continue the three-game series Wednesday night,, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. Right-hander Mikey O'Brien (4-4, 4.79) is expected to start for Trenton while Altoona counters with righty Phil Irwin (3-7, 3.16). Limited tickets are available by contacting the Thunder box office at 609-394-3300 or online at www.trentonthunder.com. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 6:45 pm.