After being blanked on a frustrating Fourth of July in which they went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the series on Wednesday, the Curve jumped in front in Thursday's middle game of three early with runs in the second and third on RBI singles by Jarek Cunningham and Drew Maggi to stake Tim Alderson to a 2-0 lead.
The Curve's lanky right-handed starter worked well with the advantage, tossing 5.2 innings and shutting out the Phillies on four hits. Alderson recorded a season-high six strikeouts and walked four, working out of a series of jams in his middle three innings. Alderson stranded the bases loaded in the second inning, left a man aboard in the third, and abandoned two more Phils in the fourth.
With a 2-0 deficit facing them, the Phillies threatened in the sixth inning, putting runners at second and third with two outs to force Alderson's removal. Reliever Nathan Baker walked the first man he faced to load the bases but got out of the jam by inducing a popout from pinch hitter D'Arby Myers to end the sixth.
Myers was hitting in the place of Reading starter Trevor May whose five innings included two runs on three Curve hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Neither May nor Alderson factored into the decision due to a two-run Phillies eighth that got the game even against Curve reliever Hunter Strickland, the tying run crossing on a Troy Hanzawa sacrifice fly.
Strickland (1-0) would be the beneficiary of the Curve's eighth-inning rally, however, picking up the win as Cunningham and Quincy Latimore each drove in runs against Phillies reliever Frank Gailey (2-3) to break the brief tie and send Altoona to victory.
From Altoona Curve reports: