ALTOONA, PA - The Altoona Curve dropped the Richmond Flying Squirrels, 5-3, in front of 5,024 on Sunday night at Blair County Ballpark.
Pitching dominated the early-portion of the ballgame, but the Squirrels got on the board first against Curve left-hander Justin Wilson in the fourth inning. Brandon Belt led off the inning and slugged a solo-home run to left-center field. The opposite-field blast, his fourth of the season, extended his hit-streak to eight games and gave Richmond a 1-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived as Altoona quickly answered against Squirrels' lefty Clayon Tanner in the bottom of the inning. Tanner created his own trouble by wallking the lead-off man, Miles Durham. Brandon Jones followed with a single to put runners at first and second with nobody out. A batter later, Yung-Chi Chen singled up the middle to plate Durham and tie the game, 1-1.
Altoona wrestled the lead away in the fifth inning. With two outs, Tanner walked Matt Hague and was lifted from the ballgame in favor of righty Mike MacDonald. MacDonald promptly walked Durham and Jones singled to give the Curve the lead, 2-1. Shelby Ford followed with a single and the lead was two runs, 3-1.
Tanner was charged with two runs in 4 2/3 innings. He didn't factor in the decision, allowing six hits, walking four and striking out five.
Richmond fought back against Wilson in the sixth inning, eventually forcing him from the ballgame. Thomas Neal started the rally and Conor Gillaspie singled behind him. Clay Timpner followed with a single to score Neal and shave the Altoona lead to a lone run. Wilson walked Tyler La Torre to load the bases and was lifted from the ballgame. Michael Dubee entered and Sharlon Schoop grounded out to bring in the tying run.
Wilson also didn't record a decision. He was charged with three earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. He conceded five hits, walked two and struck out six.
The Curve put together the game-winning rally in the seventh inning. Right-hander Mitch Lively was on for his second inning of relief and conceded a pair of singles to Hector Gimenez and Durham. Right-hander Ronnie Ray entered with two outs, but pinch-hitter Jordy Mercer sent an 0-2 pitch on a line into left field for a two-run single. The final two runs of the ballgame scored on Mercer's single and capped the scoring, 5-3.
Lively (1-1), was charged with the two runs and his first loss of the season. Dubee (4-2) earned the win in relief, turning in 1 2/3 scoreless frames for his fourth win of the season. Diego Moreno earned his second save of the season, holding off the Squirrels over the final two innings.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for noon on Monday afternoon at Blair County Ballpark. RHP Craig Westcott (0-1, 3.27) will make the start for Richmond against RHP Tim Alderson (7-5, 5.30) for Altoona.