AKRON, Ohio - The Akron RubberDucks scored five times in the bottom of the eighth inning, four times on a grand slam by Francisco Lindor, to stun the Altoona Curve, 9-7, on Thursday night at Canal Park. Altoona hit four homers and at one point led 7-2 before the RubberDucks began their comeback. Keon Broxton homered twice and finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Initially trailing after the bottom of the first, the Curve hit the first of their four homers in the second when Elias Diaz hit his first Double-A homer to flip the scoreboard in the second. The Curve added a run in the third on a Mel Rojas, Jr. RBI double before Willy Garcia and Broxton both crushed solo homers in the fourth.
Starter Adrian Sampson allowed the early run and then settled in nicely, especially after the 15-minute delay due to a power outage in the area. He allowed one run through four innings before giving up a run in the fifth. Broxton erased that 'Ducks run in the top of the sixth with his second homer of the game, a two-run shot, and the Curve led 7-2.
Things started to unravel from there as the 'Ducks mounted their comeback. Sampson became the first starter to come out and pitch in the seventh and ended up recording an out before departing the game after allowing a run. Jhonathan Ramos entered and allowed an inherited runner to score and the 'Ducks were within three at 7-4.
Ramos came out to pitch the eighth and the RubberDucks loaded up the bases with no one out for leadoff man Tyler Naquin. Naquin hit a ball to Stetson Allie at first and he threw to second to try and start a pair. The Curve only recorded one out and a run scored to make it a two-run game.
Ryan Beckman (1-2) was summoned from the bullpen to face right-handed hitting Tyler Holt. Beckman lost Holt to a walk before giving up the grand slam homer to Lindor.
Eight of the nine Curve batters in the game had at least one hit and Broxton, Diaz, Garcia and Jarek Cunningham all had multi-hit games. Broxton's day extended his hitting streak to eight games while Cunningham's multi-hit effort ran his hit streak to seven games.
Sampson took a tough no decision on Thursday after throwing 6.1 innings and permitting four runs on nine hits.
The Curve (13-19) will look to bounce back versus the 'Ducks (21-12) in the second game of the series at 6:35 p.m. Friday night from Canal Park. Heading to the mound in the second game of the four-game series for the Curve will be RHP Tyler Sample (2-1, 2.57), who looks to avenge a loss to Akron in his last outing. He'll be opposed by RHP Gabriel Arias (3-2, 3.75) on Friday.
Airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.