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Altoona breaks out bats to win goofy game, 11-9

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers
Wyatt Mathisen
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Two big innings from Altoona made up for J.T. Brubaker’s tough luck early on, and the Curve defeated Hartford, 11-9, on Sunday afternoon.

Brubaker gave up three home runs in the first two innings, but Altoona scored five in the first and six in the fifth.

Brubaker, who has been quite good, walked the first batter of the game, then got tagged for two long home runs back-to-back. He also gave up a three-run homer in the second. He only allowed five hits, striking out four and walking three. He hit 94 MPH on the stadium gun.

“Brubaker didn’t throw nearly as bad as the box score indicates,” Altoona manager Michael Ryan said.

“(He needs to) get ahead, get strike one. If not strike one, get the first pitch on the ground. That’s key for him. I don’t think he had a feel for his changeup from what it looked like from the dugout.”

Jordan Luplow, Jerrick Suiter and Tomas Morales each had two-hit days. Morales, a 25-year-old catcher, had four RBIs, including the major blow, a three-run homer to center in the fifth.

Suiter legged out a double and Wyatt Mathisen made it a little easier on the legs, cracking one to the warning track for another double earlier in the fifth.

Kevin Newman went 1-for-5, also with a double, which went right down the left-field line.

Connor Joe and Michael Suchy each hit two-run singles in the first.

Buddy Borden and Tate Scioneaux had clean relief outings; Luis Heredia and Sean Keselica did not.

Altoona had an interesting defensive alignment, with a really slick-looking infield — Joe, Pablo Reyes, Newman and Mathisen, though Mathisen made another error — and three linebackers in the outfield -- Luplow, Suchy (in center!) and Suiter, with Elvis Escobar out of the lineup.