CURVE, Pa. - Altoona continued its winning ways against a new opponent as they doubled up the Harrisburg Senators, 4-2, in the first game of a four-game series at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Monday night. Jeff Karstens was solid in his rehab start for the Curve, tossing his scheduled three innings while not allowing a run and striking out one. The seven-game win streak is the longest for Altoona since an eight-game streak from June 18-24, 2010.
Altoona drew first in the game off Senators starter Jeff Mandel (4-3) in the second inning when Matt Curry came around to score on a Miles Durham groundout to make it 1-0 Curve. Karstens would keep the Curve in front with two more scoreless innings before completing his night after the third. All told, the right hander surrendered two hits while striking out one and did not walk a batter.
The Senators drew even in the game with an unearned run of reliever Nathan Baker (3-4) in the fourth when the tying run scored on a throwing error by Jarek Cunningham, his first of the season, which would have ended the inning. It was no matter to the Curve, however, as they'd bounce right back in the sixth and benefit from a Senators defensive miscue.
After Robbie Grossman was retired to start the sixth, Brock Holt came to the plate and singled back through the middle to start the rally. Cunningham followed Holt's single with a double of his own to place runners at second and third with just one down. Harrisburg then elected to intentionally walk Curry to load the bases for Tony Sanchez and setup a force out at any base. Mandel got the grounder he needed but third baseman Manny Mayorson had it go right under his legs and into left field.
Both Holt and Cunningham scored easily on the play and the Curve jumped back in front for good at, 3-1. Altoona tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Curry blasted a double off the wall in dead centerfield to bring home Cunningham. Harrisburg grabbed a run in the ninth off reliever Duke Welker but drew no closer.
Baker earned the win in the game coming out of the bullpen with four innings of three-hit ball. Welker earned his fifth save of the campaign with his two innings of work. Both Holt and Curry each finished the night with two hits in the win.
Winners of seven straight, the Curve (20-22) will try and make it eight in a row on Tuesday night against one of the Eastern League's best pitchers in Senators' starter Danny Rosenbaum (5-0, 0.62). Tuesday night's 6:30 p.m. game will be a Two-for-Tuesday in Curve, Pa. with two-for-one offers on tickets, hot dogs and regular popcorns thanks to Atlantic Broadband. It is also Take-25 Day at the ballpark for Take 25 minutes to talk about child safety day.
Altoona sends RHP Phil Irwin (0-1, 4.76) to the hill on Tuesday in his 2012 home debut at Peoples Natural Gas Field against the Senators (23-20). Gates for the contest will swing open at 5:30 p.m. while airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 6 p.m.
--Curve Media Relations--