Win: Edubray Ramos (1-1)
Loss: Jhondaniel Medina (3-6)
CURVE, Pa. - After scoring five unanswered runs to tie the game late, the Altoona Curve gave up two runs in the tenth inning and lost the series rubber match to the Reading Fightin Phils, 8-6, on Wednesday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Curve (69-61) had their advantage over the third-place RubberDucks trimmed to two games for the second and final postseason spot from the Western Division. The Eastern Division-leading Fightin Phils (75-54) maintained a four-game lead over Binghamton.
Max Moroff recorded his 143rd hit of the season in the ninth inning to break the Altoona franchise record for the most in a season by a switch-hitter, passing the mark set by Shawn Garrett in 2002.
Reading worked two bases loaded walks against Altoona reliever Jhondaniel Medina (Loss, 3-6) in the top of the tenth to take an 8-6 lead.
Altoona trailed 6-1 heading into the eighth inning, but Barrett Barnes singled in a run to cut the deficit to four.
In the ninth, Adam Frazier and Moroff knocked back-to-back RBI singles and Jose Osuna grounded into a force out to bring the Curve back within a run.
Erich Weiss hit a triple off the center field wall to score Osuna from first to tie the score at 6-6.
With Weiss at third and one out, Reading reliever Edubray Ramos (Win, 1-1) struck out Barrett Barnes before intentionally walking Mel Rojas Jr., who later took second base on defensive indifference. Ramos sent the game into extra innings with a strikeout of Sebastian Valle, stranding a pair of Altoona runners in scoring position.
Reading pulled ahead, 6-1, in the seventh inning after a grand slam by Destin Hood off of Curve reliever Clario Perez, his ninth home run of the year.
The Fightin Phils jumped ahead against Curve starter Zack Dodson in the first inning. Brock Stassi brought in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Hood added to Reading's lead with an RBI triple.
Dodson pitched five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
The Curve cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first with an RBI single by Barnes.
Barnes finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBI while Frazier and Weiss each had three hits.
KC Serna went 4-for-5 for the Fightin Phils with two doubles and an RBI while scoring twice. Reading starting pitcher Jake Thompson allowed one run over six innings and struck out seven.
Altoona went 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 base runners on the night. Reading hit just 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 on base.
The Curve meet the Trenton Thunder for the first game of a four-game series. First pitch from PNG Field is scheduled for 7 p.m. Right-hander Jason Creasy (10-7, 4.44) will be on the mound for the Curve. Righty Cale Coshow (1-1, 2.93) takes the hill for the Thunder.
The first 1,500 fans will take home a Steamer dashboard bobblehead, courtesy of the Altoona Mirror. The Curve will wear special Steamer jerseys for Thursday night's game that will be auctioned off during the game. Proceeds from the jerseys will benefit Mountain Lion Backpack.
Thursday night is Thirsty Thursday, featuring 16 oz. Bud Light on special and regular sodas for $2. It is also College Night, and students can bring their college ID to the stadium for $5 grandstand tickets.
Airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.