MANCHESTER, NH- Neil Walker's connected for his first home run in 40 games to highlight a four-run first inning, but the Curve failed to hold the lead and dropped a 6-5, 10-inning decision to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Friday night in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Tied 5-5 in the bottom of the tenth, Manny Mayorson singled home Ryan Klosterman from third base with the winning run as the Fisher Cats took the opener of a three-game weekend series. Klosterman had opened the New Hampshire threat by reaching on a throwing error charged to shortstop Brandon Chaves.
Dave Davidson (3-1) gave up the winning run and was handed his first loss of the season. The left-hander entered the outing having tossed 13 2/3 scoreless innings over his previous seven appearances.
The Curve, who swept the Portland Sea Dogs in a three-game series to open their season-long nine-game road trip, got off to a quick start against Fisher Cats' starter Kyle Yates. Walker followed back-to-back bunt singles by Peter Bergeron and Vic Buttler will a long three-run home run off the scoreboard in right-center field to give Altoona a 3-0 lead. Later in the frame, Javier Guzman knocked in the Curve's fourth run with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Andrew McCutchen.
Altoona starter Luis Munoz was staked to the early 4-0 advantage, but gave up the lead after allowing three runs in the bottom of the third and two more in the fourth on a two-run home run off the bat of ninth-place hitter Juan Peralta. In four innings of work, Munoz, who made his previous two starts for Triple-A Indianapolis, was charged with five runs and six hits.
Trailing 5-4 into the top of the sixth, the Curve knotted the game when Brian Peterson singled home Brett Roneberg from second base.
The game remained even into the tenth inning thanks to solid relief pitching from both sides. New Hampshire lefties Jesse Carlson and Jo Matumoto combined for four scoreless innings, while the Curve duo of Jason Roach (two innings) and Ronald Belisario (three innings) held the Fisher Cats off the board from the fifth through the ninth.
The Curve offense pounded out 12 hits in the contest, including a pair each from Buttler, Walker, McCutchen and Peterson.
The Curve (61-55) missed out on an opportunity to move a game closer to second-place Erie in the wild-card race in the E.L. South. The SeaWolves also lost their series opener Friday against Connecticut. Altoona remains 4 1/2 games behind Erie in the race for one of the Southern Division's two playoff spots.
Altoona and New Hampshire will play the middle game of their three-game set Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m. The Curve will send left-hander Josh Shortslef (2-12, 4.79) to the mound against Fisher Cats' right-hander Ty Taubenheim.