CURVE, Pa. - The Altoona Curve jumped out to an early 5-1 lead but could not quiet the Reading Fightin Phils in an 8-6 loss Saturday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Fightin Phils (70-48, 31-20) scored seven straight runs with the help of three homers to flip a four-run deficit to a three-run advantage over the Curve (59-59, 23-27).
After two solo home runs from Luke Williams in the third and Nick Maton in the fifth, Alec Bohm tied the game at five for Reading in the sixth on a two-run blast off Curve reliever Nicholas Economos (Loss, 0-3). The homer scored Mickey Moniak, who doubled the batter before.
Reading took over for good in the seventh with back-to-back doubles, resulting in three runs. After a one-out walk and a pinch-hit single from Danny Mayer, Williams doubled to score one. Moniak then doubled off new Curve reliever Angel German to score the two inherited runners from Economos. Williams finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a triple shy of the cycle.
With the Curve trailing, 1-0, after a half inning, Mitchell Tolman started the home half of the first with a double off Reading starter David Parkinson (Win, 9-7) and moved to third on a Jared Oliva single. After an Oneil Cruz walk to load the bases, Logan Hill gave the Curve the lead with a two-RBI single to center. The Curve tacked on another run when Chris Sharpe hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Cruz.
Arden Pabst hammered a home run over the left field bleachers on the first pitch of the second, his fourth of the year. Three batters later, Darnell Sweeney extended the inning with a two-out double and scored on an Oliva single in the next at-bat.
Parkinson settled in afterwards, facing the minimum over his next four innings to close out a six inning, nine strikeout performance. Reading received scoreless innings in relief from Jonathan Hennigan and Aaron Brown in the seventh and eighth, respectively.
Bligh Madris sparked the Curve's rally attempt in the ninth with a lead-off, pitch-hit double. He scored two batters later on a Jerrick Suiter single. A Tolman walk brought the winning run to the plate. However, the Curve's efforts were haulted by R-Phils reliever Addison Russ (Save, 18) with a strikeout and groundout to end the game.
Reading pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts of Curve hitters. The Curve struck out nine, including three over 1.2 scoreless innings by German and one in a scoreless ninth by Joel Cesar .
Cody Ponce made his first start in the Pirates organization and third total appearance for Altoona. Williams led off the game with a single, stole second and reached third on a throwing error by Pabst before scoring on a groundout by Moniak. Ponce faced the minimum until Williams' solo homer with two outs in the third.
Tolman, Sweeney and Oliva all had multi-hit games in the loss.
Altoona and Reading complete their season series with the rubber match on Sunday night. Right-hander Pedro Vasquez (6-3, 2.77) will take the ball for Altoona against Reading's Adonis Medina (6-5, 4.36). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Gates will open for fans at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. It's Faith Night at the ballpark, presented by Element Church, with postgame FIREWORKS set to a Newsboys theme, also presented by Element Church. Red Letter Hymnal will kick off the festivities with a pregame concert. There will also be a guest appearance by Daniel Tiger and it's another Ritchey's Dairy Kids' Club Game, free for kids ages 3-12, presented by Ritchey's Dairy. For tickets or more information about upcoming promotions, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office. Additionally, the Stockyard Team Store is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., during every home game and online 24/7/365.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.