Jerrick Suiter and Edwin Espinal both hit home runs and recent call-up Logan Hill had a strong evening at the plate as Double-A Altoona took a pair of wins, 6-5 and 5-1, in a doubleheader at Akron on Saturday.
Hill, 24, who was promoted from High-A Bradenton to Altoona when Jordan Luplow was sent up to Triple-A Indianapolis on June 30, posted a 3-for-6 on the day with two doubles and a walk. He’s slashing .323/.421/.548 with in nine games with the Curve.
A lineup of Curve right-handers in Game One had a distinct opposite-field approach against Akron’s lefty starter. Hill smacked a book-rule double to right-center field in the first and scored when Espinal inside-outed a single to right. Hill later hit a double that stayed in the yard, but in about the same spot.
Catcher Tomas Morales went 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk, the first of which came as a product of his hustle on a pop-up the second baseman didn’t quite get to.
Espinal doubled in the sixth to chase the RubberDucks’ starter. Suiter was welcomed with a fastball towards the head from an apparently rusty reliever, but gathered himself to knock a two-run homer to right-center field.
Altoona starter Austin Coley threw a whole bunch of curveballs. He got one smacked for a double in the first, but settled in for the next three innings. He wasn’t so much occasionally pitching backwards, but almost pitching off the curve, throwing it to start at-bats, and it worked for the most part. Coley ran into some trouble in the fifth, allowing a couple runs. He loaded the bases with two outs, but got an ugly swing from Mike Papi to end the inning and punctuate his outing.
Yeudy Garcia, whose struggles have sent him to the Altoona bullpen, came out and hit 94-96 MPH with his fastball, but didn’t often hit the strike zone. He walked four in two innings, somehow allowing just one run for the save in the seven-inning game. Not to pile on poor Yeudy, but even his two strikeouts came with asterisks — the first came on a two-strike foul bunt (by a position player, for some reason), the second on a wild pitch that had the batter reach first anyway.
The nightcap was a little more orderly. Espinal drove one easily over the wall in left-center for a homer. Still just 23, Espinal’s showing some power at Altoona, with 10 homers, 24 doubles and a .467 slugging percentage this season. Defensively, he made plays on balls hit at him, but his movements could be an issue.
Suiter showed a strong arm in right field in Game Two, throwing a runner out at home on a terrible send and nearly nabbing a runner stretching a hit into a double, though Kevin Newman couldn’t quite handle the on-time throw.
Suiter had 3-for-3 and 4-for-4 games during the week, and he’s up to a five-game hitting streak.
Spot Startin’ Sean Keselica fanned three in three innings.
Brandon Cumpton pitched a scoreless sixth, sitting 91-93 and getting a nice looking whiff with a breaking ball. His control didn’t last into a second inning, as a single and two walks forced Montana DuRapau to finish the game.