CURVE, Pa. - Nathan Baker (1-0) pitched five solid innings and wound up a winner thanks to a two-run fifth by the Curve offense that led Altoona to an eventual 4-2 victory over Erie at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Friday night. Baker left after the top of the fifth trailing 2-1 but wound up the winner after a Tony Sanchez RBI double placed Altoona in front for keeps in the bottom half.
Trailing 2-1 entering the fifth, Altoona got things going with one down when Brock Holt found his second hit of the evening off SeaWolves starter Zack Segovia (0-1). Jarek Cunningham, who drove in the Curve's first run in the third with a single, drove in the game-tying run in the fifth after he followed Holt's single with a double. After Andrew Lambo was retired, Sanchez brought Cunningham in with his double.
That would be all the Curve needed as the bullpen once again tossed scoreless frames to close out the game. Tim Alderson, Ryan Beckman and Kris Johnson combined for four scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and striking out five. Through the first two games, Altoona's pen has thrown nine innings and allowed one unearned run on five total hits with 11 strikeouts.
The bullpen's impressive start followed a nice Double-A debut from Baker, who gave up just one earned run in his five innings. After giving up Erie's second run in the second on a RBI triple by Michael Rockett, Baker stymied the Howlers the rest of the way to the tune of no hits and just one base runner in his final three innings of work. The Memphis, Tenn. native struck out five and walked two in the victory.
Altoona's bats were once again active with all but one member of the starting nine recording a hit. This comes a night after every batter in the Curve lineup finished with at least one knock. Cunningham, Holt and Sanchez all had multi-hit games in the victory.
Elevys Gonzalez, who started today at third after Jeremy Farrell was promoted to Triple-A, recorded his first Double-A hit in the eighth and it was a big one because it brought home an insurance run to widen the lead to, 4-2.
Johnson recorded the first two outs of the ninth quickly but then allowed a hit to Rockett and walked Jaime Johnson. With the go-ahead run at the dish, Johnson fanned Brandon Douglas to put the game away.
--Curve Media Relations--