It was a wild finish from top-to-bottom in the 11th inning as Richmond nearly scored the go-ahead run in the top half off the frame off reliever Mike Colla (2-4). With two men on courtesy of a pair of Colla free passes, Gary Brown put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up 90 feet and push the go-ahead run 90 feet away at third. Ryan Cavan then hit a ball weakly back to the pitcher Colla, who threw off-balance toward the plate to try and retire the lead runner Wendell Fairley.
Fairley slid into home plate knocking over Curve catcher Tony Sanchez and home plate umpire Tom Honec but Sanchez held on to the ball and Fairley was called out at the plate. Richmond skipper Dave Machemer came out to argue the call and was subsequently ejected from the game.
That set the stage for the Curve's walk-off win in the bottom half of the inning which also was rather peculiar. Miles Durham started the bottom of the 11th with a single to right and then Charlie Cutler came to the plate to try and sacrifice him over. Cutler's sac bunt went up the first base side and it appeared that first baseman Jose Flores tagged Cutler out as he was running up the line but no signal was ever made. Cutler proceeded to first base after being ruled safe and the Curve had two men on with no one out.
Kelson Brown laid down a textbook sac bunt to move Durham and Cutler up a station for Elevys Gonzalez. Gonzalez was intentionally walked to load the bases before Grossman ended the game with his RBI single to right.
Altoona led at four different points prior to the victory in the 11th, taking its first lead in the first inning thanks to a Sanchez RBI single that drove home Jarek Cunningham. After Richmond countered with a run in the top of the second, Cutler blasted his first home run of the season to right to stake the Curve to another one-run advantage at 2-1.
The two clubs traded runs until the Curve once again led, 4-3, heading into the eighth inning when Richmond tied the game again, this time off reliever Jhonathan Ramos. Neither team scored until Altoona broke the deadlock in the 11th inning.
Curve starter Tim Alderson turned in a quality start on Thursday night, going 6.0 innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with five strikeouts. Logan Kensing also saw action on Thursday night, tossing two scoreless innings of relief.
Sanchez finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBI to help lead the Curve offense while Grossman, Cunningham and Durham all had multi-hit games in the victory.
From Altoona Curve reports: