AKRON, Ohio - An Altoona Curve ninth-inning rally fell one run shy yet again in Akron as the Aeros squeaked by with a, 4-3, victory on Saturday night at Canal Park. Of the eight games the Curve have lost this season in Akron, six of them have been by one run.
The Aeros were able to plate what turned out to be the deciding run in the bottom of the eighth off All-Star reliever Vic Black, who prior to Saturday night hadn't allowed a run since May 26th. Black walked Tyler Holt to start the inning and then hit Matt Lawson to put two on with no outs. Nick Weglarz hit into a fielder's choice that saw Lawson retired at second but Holt moved to third.
With runners at the corners, Thomas Neal hit a ball that was too hot to handle for Stefan Welch at third as he committed a fielding error that permitted Neal to reach and Holt to score to place Altoona down by two.
That run proved costly in the ninth as the Curve's ninth-inning rally fell short. Robbie Grossman walked to start the frame thanks to Rob Bryson and proceeded to second on a balk during Brock Holt's at bat. Holt brought the Curve to the brink of a tie with a triple that scored Grossman and also appeared to setup the Curve to tie the game with no one out. Bryson settled down after the triple and struck out Oscar Tejeda, Matt Curry and Adalberto Santos in succession to end the game.
Altoona wasn't without chances on Saturday night as they received a total of seven free passes courtesy of Akron pitching. The Curve finished the game 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 on the bases.
The Curve actually led early in the game, scoring two runs on a two-run double by Quincy Latimore in the top of the fourth inning. That lead was short-lived, however, as Akron scored three times off Gerrit Cole (2-2) in the bottom of the inning. Cole lasted through four innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out three. Hunter Strickland was superb out of the 'pen following Cole, retiring all nine batters he faced in succession.
Grossman was 2-for-4 on the day and now has reached base in 26 straight games while Holt finished the night 2-for-5.
--Curve Media Relations--