BLAIR COUNTY, PA - Altoona's bats were cooled on Thursday night as they were held to three runs on nine hits in a, 5-3, series-closing loss to the New Britain Rock Cats at Peoples Natural Gas Field. The Curve entered the game having scored 17 runs across the first two games but where held to just three on Thursday as New Britain fought off a Curve sweep and snapped their seven-game losing streak.
The Curve led briefly in the game after falling behind early, 1-0. Robbie Grossman and Brock Holt led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles off former Curve LHP and Rock Cats starter Aaron Thompson (1-2). After Jarek Cunningham struck out, Matt Curry singled to load up the bases with one down.
With the bases full of Curve, Miles Durham knotted the game at one with a sac fly to right that scored Grossman while moving Holt, the go-ahead run, to third. Ramon Cabrera came through with the two-out hit to bring Holt home and give the Curve and starter Kyle McPherson (1-1) a 2-1 advantage.
That lead was short-lived because New Britain answered immediately in the second when the leadoff batter in the inning Evan Bigley homered to left to tie the game at two.
McPherson avoided trouble in the third with a 1-2-3 inning but let the first two batters of the fourth inning reach ahead of Bigley. With two on, Bigley singled into right to bring home Oswaldo Arica and give the Rock Cats a one-run lead. It'd be a three-run advantage before the inning as over as Nate Hanson and Daniel Rohlfing each had RBI hits to drive in runs.
Down 5-2, the Curve answered with a run on a Drew Maggi RBI single in the bottom of the fourth but scored no further on the night. McPherson ended up finishing six innings and did not allow a run in his final two innings of work. All five runs were earned to the Curve starter, who was making his second start of the 2012 season after starting the season on the Indianapolis DL with right shoulder inflammation.
Altoona did try and mount a rally in the ninth off Bruce Pugh as Durham singled with two away and Cabrera worked a walk. With the tying run at first base in the person of pinch runner Quincy Latimore, Evan Chambers struck out to end the game.
From Altoona Curve reports: