Chad Kuhl didn't have his best day on the mound and the Altoona bats weren't that great either until Willy Garcia and Dan Gamache hit back-to-back ninth-inning home runs, and the Curve lost to Erie, 6-4.
Kuhl, like all of Altoona's staff, has been good this year, but he was touched up for six runs on 10 hits in five innings. He did strike out six and walk one, but he appeared to struggle with his command, in my very much amateur eye. His sinker sat in the 91-93 miles-per-hour range, according to a helpful AL West scout. (I really wanted to say that.) Kuhl shook off catcher Jacob Stallings a lot more than I'm used to seeing in the minors, seemed to miss his spots and didn't get the ground balls he (like any Pirates pitching prospect) is known for. He gave up two homers to
some nondescript Tigers dude Tony Thomas.
Meanwhile, Altoona managed just four hits in 7 2-3 innings against Erie's starter,
some guy Tommy Collier. In the ninth, Garcia (pictured) went down and golfed one pretty high up on the side of the hockey arena in left. As one might guess with Garcia, the pitch was well outside the strike zone.
Gamache followed with a more modest, Dan Gamache-like pop to right-center.
Josh Bell hit an RBI single in the third. In what I assume was a planned, teaching-not-trying-to-win type of play, he rounded first aggressively to get in a rundown so Adam Frazier could score from third, but Frazier got thrown out. It looked like Bell did his job and Frazier was too slow to break, or just that Erie caught on quickly. That one guy may have failed to execute on one specific occasion isn't exactly telling of anything, though.
Frazier was the only Curve hitter with multiple hits, going 2-for-4, including an RBI single earlier in the third. A natural shortstop, he played center field. Presumably that's just to fill the hole left by Keon Broxton's promotion, but maybe it's something to add to his toolbox in case he can become a utility type in the majors.
-- Adrian Sampson was quite good and Alen Hanson and Jaff Decker each homered in Indianapolis' 5-2 win at Lehigh Valley. Sampson allowed just three hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking one. Decker hit a solo homer off Iron Pigs starter and old friend Chris Leroux. Hanson hit a two-run shot in the seventh. Elias Diaz and Gustavo Nunez each had two hits, including a double, and Steve Lombardozzi went 2-for-4.
-- West Virginia beat Rome, 4-3. Austin Coley allowed two runs on just three hits in six innings, striking out three and walking one. Elvis Escobar went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, and Connor Joe was 2-for-5.
-- Bradenton was off.