CURVE, Pa. - The five-game winning streak for the Altoona Curve came to a halt after a 3-1, series-opening loss to the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Friday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Curve (71-56) left 11 runners on base and went 1-for-15 with men in scoring position while the Flying Squirrels (61-67) stranded seven with a 1-for-11 mark in scoring chances.
Richmond starter Conner Menez allowed lead-off singles through the first three innings and issued one walk in each inning but worked around each Curve threat. Menez labored for 97 pitches through four innings but the Curve went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position over the first four frames.
Dario Agrazal (Loss, 5-4) recorded his ninth quality start in his 12th starting assignment of the season with three runs allowed over six innings. He matched his six strikeouts from his previous outing as the second-most in a game this year. The right-hander held the Flying Squirrels to a 1-for-11 mark with runners in scoring position and allowed one walk.
The Flying Squirrels scored all three of their runs early against Agrazal. In addition to a solo homer in the second from Dillon Dobson, two key runs scored with two outs in the third. Luigi Rodriguez doubled into the right field corner and scored on an RBI single from Ryan Howard, who was hit home on a triple to right by Caleb Gindl.
Dusten Knight (Win, 4-0) carried the Richmond shutout through the seventh after he took over for Menez to start the fifth. Sam Wolff (Save, 5) locked down the final three outs in the ninth after he issued a lead-off walk.
Once the Curve reached 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, the Curve broke up the shutout in the eighth inning. Facing Taylor Hill, Bryan Reynolds connected on his second single of the game and was brought home on an RBI single by Logan Hill .
In relief of Agrazal, Yeudy Garcia struck out four Squirrels over two scoreless innings and Tate Scioneaux fanned two more with a shutout ninth inning that ran the strikeout total for Curve pitching up to 12.
Cole Tucker went 3-for-5 and stole his 31st base of the season to move back to a tie for the league lead with Bo Bichette of New Hampshire. Reynolds and Hill joined Tucker in the multiple hit category with two apiece. Alfredo Reyes' hitting streak ended at 12 games when he went 0-for-1 with a walk after he entered the game on a double-switch in the seventh.
The Curve and Flying Squirrels continue their series on Saturday with a double-header beginning at 4 p.m. Altoona will start right-hander James Marvel (2-1, 2.25) against Richmond righty Jake McCasland (4-6, 4.11) in the first game. In game two, right-hander Scooter Hightower (0-1, 3.42) will start for the Curve versus left-hander Garrett Williams (3-8, 5.99).
The first 1,000 fans will receive the final Fans' Choice All-Time Curve Team bobblehead of former third baseman Neil Walker, presented by UniFirst. The ballpark gates will open at 3 p.m. prior to Saturday's double-header. For tickets or 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.