AKRON, OH- Steven Pearce homered
for the second consecutive game and remained the Eastern League's batting
leader with a pair of hits and two RBI to lead the Curve to their second
straight win at Akron, 8-6, Friday night at Canal Park.
Pearce, who went
2-for-4 on the night to push his league-leading average to .337, knocked in the
first of two Curve runs in the first inning with an RBI double
before belting a solo homer -- his 14th of the season with Altoona -- over the
left-field wall in the top of the fifth inning. Pearce, who hit 11
longballs at Class-A Lynchburg before being promoted to Double-A on
May 1, now has 25 homers and Minor League-leading total of 96 RBI between
the two levels.
Javier Guzman and Andrew
McCutchen each chipped in three hits and Jason Bowers added a pair of
key insurance runs with an eighth-inning double to help improve the
Curve record to a season-high five games above the .500 mark at 54-49.
Despite the win, Altoona
remains 4 1/2 games out of the wild-card race in the E.L. South.
Akron (60-46) will enter Saturday's action sharing the
top spot in the Southern Division for the first time since May 21. The
Aeros have held at least a share of the division lead every day since May 12.
Kip Bouknight (9-3) picked up his second straight win for the Curve since
returning from Triple-A Indianapolis last weekend. The right-hander
allowed four runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings to earn the win. Matt Peterson closed out the Altoona victory with a
perfect ninth inning to earn his 19th save of the season and his first
since July 8.
Chuck Lofgren (9-6), one of the Indians' top young pitching prospects,
suffered his first loss against Altoona
in four starts this season after yielding six runs over 5 1/3 innings.
The 21-year old left-hander walked four batters and fanned only two in the
Altoona scored a pair of runs in the first inning and two more in
the second against Lofgen and led the game wire-to-wire for the second
consecutive night. The Curve also won Thursday's series opener, 10-5.
Jason Delaney went 0-for-4 and did not record an RBI in the game to end
both his 13-game hitting streak and club-record 12-game RBI streak.
Delaney's 13-game hit streak is the longest by any Curve player this season and
his 12-game RBI streak, which dated back to July 15, doubled the previous
record of six straight games held by both Pearce and Brad Eldred.
Altoona will seek a third consecutive win in Akron Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m.
Curve righty Dewon Brazelton (3-3,
3.95) will make the start against Akron
right-hander Bobby Brownlie (0-0,