TRENTON, N.J. - Pirates top pitching prospect Mitch Keller allowed two runs over six innings in his Double-A debut, but the Altoona Curve lost in 11 innings to the Trenton Thunder, 4-2, in Sunday night's road trip finale at ARM & HAMMER Park.
The Curve (58-54) dropped two of three games on the road trip to the Thunder (75-37).
In the bottom of the 11th, Rashad Crawford hit a two-out, two-run homer against Curve reliever Cody Dickson (Loss, 2-4) to lift Trenton to a walk-off win.
Keller worked six innings and allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He allowed just one hit, an infielder single in the first, over the first four innings of his outing before the Thunder scratched two runs across against him in the fifth on four hits.
Trailing 2-1 entering the ninth, Justin Maffei reached on a one-out walk and moved to third on a single by Jackson Williams, putting runners on the corners with one out. Cole Tucker followed with a sac fly to even the score at 2-2 against Trenton reliever Cody Carroll.
The Thunder opened the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single by Francisco Diaz and brought around a second run with a sacrifice fly by Jeff Hendrix.
Altoona cut the Trenton lead in half in the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run by Jin-De Jhang, his third of the season.
Alex McRae pitched two scoreless innings making his first relief appearance of the season, working around a hit and a walk with one strikeout. Luis Heredia worked two scoreless frames across the ninth and tenth.
Trenton starter Brady Koerner allowed one run over 5.1 innings on six hits with one walk and one strikeout. Raynel Espinal pitched 1.2 scoreless innings. Andrew Schwaab (Win, 1-0) pitched two scoreless innings.
The Curve remain a half-game behind the first-place Bowie Baysox in the E.L. West standings and hold a 2.5-game lead over Erie and Akron for the division's wild card spot.
After a day off on Monday, the Curve open a six-day, seven-game homestand with the first of three against the Reading Fightin Phils, Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, on Tuesday night. Right-hander Casey Sadler (1-2, 3.80) will be on the mound for the Curve, opposed by Reading right-hander Tyler Viza (8-7, 5.13). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at PNG Field.
Tuesday will be Two-for-Tuesday, presented by Atlantic Broadband, featuring buy-one, get-one-free specials on tickets, hot dogs and small popcorn. 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.