CURVE, Pa. - Willy Garcia set the franchise record for outfield assists in a single season with 19 as he cut down a potential game-tying run in the eighth that eventually kept the Curve in the win column, 3-2, versus Richmond on Tuesday night. The 19 outfield assists by Garcia are one shy of his personal season high of 20 set in 2013 while in Bradenton and surpass Starling Marte's 2011 Curve record of 18.
Altoona had to rally from a 2-0 deficit off Ty Blach (8-8) and they were able to do so starting in the fourth inning. Stetson Allie doubled, Ramon Cabrera singled and Garcia reached on a fielding error by Squirrels third baseman Myles Schroder to plate the Curve's first run. After a pair of strikeouts, starter Tom Harlan flared a single over the glove of Schroder at third to tie the game at two.
That's where the game stayed until the sixth when Garcia singled off Blach to start the frame. Dan Gamache put down a textbook sac bunt to move Garcia up 90 feet to second. Gift Ngoepe's deep fly to center moved him to third before Richmond went into the bullpen to get Daniel Slania. With Garcia at third, Carlos Paulino ripped a first-pitch single to left to score Garcia and give the Curve the lead.
Richmond looked like they might tie it in the eighth off rehabbing Pirates righty Stolmy Pimentel. Blake Miller walked with one away before Mario Lisson singled. With runners at first and second, Devin Harris popped out for the inning's second out. Schroder singled into right and they tried to test the arm of Garcia, which turned out to be a futile attempt as he hosed Miller coming around third to keep the Curve in front and end the inning.
Collin Balester pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the win and end the team's three-game losing streak. Matt Nevarez (1-0) picked up the win in relief while Harlan allowed two runs on four hits in 5.1 innings in a no decision. Pimentel allowed two hits in one inning of work and he walked one.
Garcia finished the day 1-for-3 and extended his hit streak to 11 games while Keon Broxton was 2-for-3 and has now reached base safely in 14 straight games.
The Curve (57-79) and Squirrels (75-61) will continue the series at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. It'll be Weird Al(toona) Night at the ballpark as we pay tribute to the acclaimed musician Weird Al Yankovic. Those fans that show up in a Hawaiian shirt or with shoulder-length curly hair can get in free on Wednesday. Additionally, anyone who is an architect can get in for free as well since that's what Al studied while at Cal Poly.
We'll also have a karaoke station where fans can sing Weird Al classics plus food specials like Twinkie Weiner Sandwiches (as made famous in UHF) and Whoopie Pies.
Wednesday is the final 4-Pack Wednesday presented by WALY 103.9 with four tickets, four hot dogs and four regular sodas for $35. Those that are M&T Bank card holders can show their M&T Bank cards on a M&T Bank Customer Appreciation Wednesday for $2 off the ticket price for Wednesday's game.
On the hill for the Curve on Wednesday night will be LHP Joely Rodriguez (4-11, 4.61), who will be one of eight Pirates farmhands representing the organization in this year's Arizona Fall League. He'll be opposed by Squirrels RHP Clayton Blackburn (4-5, 2.64).
Gates open at 6 p.m. while airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information on the final two home games of the season, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the ticket windows at PNG Field.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.