Eight runs in the first four innings set the tone, and the Altoona Curve went on to defeat the Harrisburg Senators 10-5 in game four of their first-round playoff series, eliminating the Senators from the playoffs and ending their 2010 season. With the win, the Curve advances to the Eastern League Championship Series against the Trenton Thunder, beginning on Tuesday evening at Blair County Ballpark in Altoona.
The Curve hit five home runs in the victory, starting with a three-run blast by Miles Durham in the top of the second inning. Jhonatan Solano answered for the Sens with a two-run shot of his own in the bottom of the inning, but Altoona pulled away with four runs in the third, and another in the fourth. The four third-inning runs came on two more home runs: a two-run shot by Jordy Mercer, and then a two-run shot by Andrew Lambo. The first seven runs all came against Sens starter Tanner Roark (0-1), who exited after just two and a third innings. Lambo drove in Chase d'Arnaud with an RBI single off of Adrian Alaniz in the fourth, extending the Altoona lead to 8-2.
The Senators got a run back in the sixth inning, when Chris Marrero led off with a solo home run off of Curve starter Tony Watson. But Altoona struck back with homers again, getting solo shots from Hector Gimenez in the seventh, and d'Arnaud in the eighth, to take a 10-3 lead. The Sens mounted their final real charge in the eighth inning, sending eight men to the plate, loading the bases twice, and scoring two runs. Michael Burgess drove in Marrero with a sacrifice fly for the first run, and Solano drove in Jesus Valdez with an RBI single to make it 10-5. Devin Ivany hit a ball right down the third-base line with the bases loaded and two outs, but Curve third baseman Josh Harrison fielded it and stepped on third to end the inning.
Roark took the loss for the Sens, while Watson (1-0) earned the win for Altoona. Watson went six and two-thirds innings, allowing just two earned runs. Six pitchers saw action in the final Senators game, including Roark, Alaniz, Rafael Martin, Jack Spradlin, Hassan Pena, and Cole Kimball. The Senators finished with seven hits, getting three from Solano and two from Marrero in defeat. Josh Johnson and Ofilio Castro had the other two hits for the Sens.
With the loss, the 2010 Harrisburg Senators season is now over. The Sens will begin play in the 2011 season in April. Fans can check the Senators website at www.senatorsbaseball.com for information throughout the offseason.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.