Curve, Pa. - A six-run second inning catapulted the Altoona Curve to an 8-7 victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels in game three of the four-game set on Wednesday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. With the victory, the Curve will aim for the series victory in the final home game on Thursday night in Curve, Pa.
The Curve got on the board first in the game after they tallied two runs in the first inning. Drew Maggi led off the first with a double down the line in right, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored when Keon Broxton hustled out an infield single. Broxton then stole second, reached third on a balk by Richmond starter Clayton Blackburn, and scored on a Ramon Cabrera double.
Altoona's biggest inning came in the second when they scored six runs after Richmond got one back in the top of the frame. All six of the Curve's runs came with two outs in the frame. Pitcher Joely Rodriguez starting the wacky rally when he grounded a single up the middle, stole second, and scored on a hit by Maggi. Following Maggi's RBI single, Dan Gamache snuck a ball over the right field wall that gave Altoona a 5-2 advantage. Broxton continued the rally with a walk, stole his second base of the game, and scored on a Matt Curry base knock. Following Curry's hit, Richmond pulled their starter Blackburn out of the game.
With Blackburn out, reliever Jose Casilla couldn't stop Altoona's hot bats in the second inning. The right hander gave up a two-run home run to the first batter he faced in Ramon Cabrera. It was Cabrera's first home run since returning to the Curve and his ninth overall this year.
Richmond rallied back and ultimately cut the Curve lead down to one in the ninth. They scored a run in the fourth and fifth on solo home runs by Mario Lisson and Angel Villalona, respectively. In the seventh, the Squirrels scored three runs after a leadoff walk and three straight doubles. The Squirrels almost made it a one-run game in the seventh inning but an outfield assist by Andy Vasquez prevented Tyler LaTorre from scoring to preserve the two-run lead. The Squirrels climbed to within one in the ninth on a one-out single from Myles Schroder but Kenn Kasparek worked out of the jam by inducing a pair of flyouts to Willy Garcia in right.
After helping his own case in the second, Rodriguez (5-11) earned the victory after hurling six innings and allowing five runs on seven hits with a walk. It was the southpaw's first win since June 26. Blackburn (4-6) suffered the loss after he gave up seven runs over 1.2 innings. Kasparek notched his team-best 12th save of the season.
Broxton finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored to run his on-base streak to 15 games. However, Garcia's 11-game hit streak came to a close after an 0-for-4 day.
Thursday's home finale will feature the final batch of postgame fireworks in the 2014 season. Stop by the ballpark when the gates swing open at 5 p.m. for live music on the Rocky Gap Casino Resort Entertainment Deck by Hot Wax. Fans in attendance also have a chance to win prizes throughout the night as a part of Fan Appreciation Night. It's also the final Thirsty ThursdayTM presented by Rocky 104.9 with 16 oz. drafts of Miller Lite and all regular sodas available to fans for just $2. Plus, it's Envision Laser Centers night in Curve, Pa. to cap off the thrilling 2014 season.
Taking the hill in the final home game of the season will be rehabbing Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton. The right hander is dealing with hip inflammation and he will be joined by Pierogy Cheese Chester who is also on a rehabilitation assignment due to a broken foot. Morton will be opposed by Richmond starter Chris Stratton (1-1, 3.71). Gates open at 5 p.m. while pregame on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM, and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
For tickets and information for the final home game in 2014, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com, or stop by the box office at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.