Stetson Allie's single scored Tomas Morales from second on a comical, Jerry Meals-like safe call at home plate and the Altoona Curve defeated Erie, 5-4, in 14 innings on Saturday night.
Alex McRae, the Pirates' 2014 10th-round pick, pitched into the eighth inning, getting pulled after a leadoff single. The sinkerballer struck out six and walked two, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits.
"He has been really, really good lately," Curve manager Joey Cora said. "For the last month, he's thrown strikes, he's attacking hitters, he's keeping the ball down, mixing all his pitches, but he's really, really attacking hitters. He's not walking hardly anybody. ... He changed four or five starts ago."
A couple hours later, in the 14th, Allie ripped a pitch into left field and Morales, the backup catcher, made it a close play at home. With just one look, it appeared to many he was out and, without replay review in the Eastern League, the call stood, ending the game at 4 hours, 2 minutes.
Organizational depth guys Jonathan Schwind and Edwin Espinal led the Altoona offense. Schwind went 4-for-6, Espinal 3-for-7. Erich Weiss had a pinch-hit, two-run double to tie the score at 3 in the sixth. Anderson Feliz hit a solo homer in the top of the 10th to tie it at 4 after Montana DuRapau gave up a run in the top of the inning.
Barrett Barnes, who has hit six homers in 14 games since August 9 and recently upped his average to .311, had two singles.
I wasn't able to catch up with Barnes, who has been plagued by injuries (and crowded outfields) since being picked 45th overall in 2012, but here's what Cora had to say about him:
"He took ownership of his career. He was floundering. He was spiraling downward. He looked himself in the mirror and said, 'I'm going to go back to basics. I'm going to get in shape. I'm going to study the game and I'm going to be serious about my preparation.' And the numbers say he has taken off. He's always been a talented guy, but I don't think he was always committed to the preparation before the game as he should've been, as he is right now, and it obviously has made a huge difference."