The Altoona Curve took a 2-1 lead in the best of five series against the Harrisburg Senators tonight, winning 7-2. Justin Wilson took the mound, pitching six shutout innings. He was helped out in a big way by Matt Hague, who had three RBIs, along with Chase d’Arnaud and Josh Harrison, who each hit solo homers.
Wilson allowed two hits in his six shutout innings, and struck out seven, but he did walk five batters. I wasn’t in attendance for tonight’s game, but I have seen Wilson in his two starts prior to this outing. In each start he had control problems, leading to a lot of walks. It appears that those control issues existed tonight with his five walks. Wilson got two big assists with double plays in the third and fourth innings, eliminating the effects of free passes earlier in the respective innings.
Altoona took a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Chase d’Arnaud, Josh Harrison, and Jordy Mercer all hit one-out singles to load the bases for Hague. Hague then doubled, clearing the bases to give Altoona their lead. The Altoona bats were quiet until the seventh inning, when d’Arnaud and Harrison hit back to back homers to lead off the inning. Altoona added two more runs in the eighth inning. Jim Negrych and Miles Durham each singled, and were sacrificed in to scoring position by Michael Colla. Both runners scored when d’Arnaud reached on a fielding error by Harrisburg shortstop Josh Johnson.
Aside from the sacrifice bunt, Colla pitched two shutout innings, allowing two hits, one walk, and striking out two. Michael Dubee came on in the ninth and closed the game out, but not before allowing two runs on two hits, with one of those hits being a home run given up to Adam Fox.
Altoona can close out the series with a win tomorrow afternoon against Harrisburg. If Altoona wins, they advance to the finals, with the first two games of the series being played on Tuesday and Wednesday in Altoona. If Altoona loses tomorrow, the series goes back to Altoona on Sunday afternoon for the deciding game five. Tony Watson takes the mound for Altoona tomorrow, and Jared Hughes is still scheduled to pitch on Sunday, despite his work in game one of the playoffs on Wednesday in relief of Rudy Owens.