After sweeping the Baysox (19-28) at home last week, the Curve (22-24) continued their dominance of the Baysox with a 5-3 win Friday night.
The visiting team has scored in the first inning in four of the past five games as the Baysox have struggled with falling behind early and have been forced to play from behind early in games. While the Baysox were able to come from behind last night to beat Richmond, they were unable to accomplish the same feat Friday.
“I liked the way we settled in, but the dagger was that solo home run in the sixth inning,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “I thought we competed well offensively; we had plenty of opportunities, but it didn’t seem like we could get much going in the later innings. We had some opportunities early, with multiple runners on, but not enough contact with runners in scoring position”
In the three innings where the Baysox scored a run, they had a total of eight batters reach base, but were unable to sustain an extended rally. The team was just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Baysox right-handed starting pitcher Mike Wright made his Double-A debut Friday night. He pitched six innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits while striking out seven in the loss.
“I would like to say it was just another start, but I was a little amped up at the beginning,” Wright said. “I wasn’t hitting the bottom of the zone, especially those first two innings. I had a lot of control, but command I only had for three innings. There’s a difference between control and command – I was throwing a lot of strikes but they weren’t quality strikes.”
Altoona jumped out to a quick start against Wright in the top of the first inning. Robbie Grossman hit a lead off double to right field and scored when Brock Holt followed with a single to center field. Holt went to second base on the throw and scored with one out when Matt Curry singled to center field to give Altoona the 2-0 lead.
The Curve extended their lead in the top of the second inning. After retiring the first two batters, Wright surrendered a double to Quincy Latimore who then scored on a Grossman double to left field. Holt reached on a fielding error by third baseman Zelous Wheeler that also allowed Grossman to move to third base where he scored on a single to left field by Jake Cunningham that made the score 4-0.
The Baysox got one run back in the bottom of the second inning against Altoona starter Tim Alderson. Catcher Caleb Joseph hit a lead off double to left field but was thrown out on a fielder’s choice that allowed designated hitter Josh Barfield to reach first base. Wheeler and right fielder Steven Bumbry then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases for second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Barfield and made the score 4-1.
Bowie closed the gap again in the bottom of the fourth inning. Wheeler hit a lead off double to left field and moved to third base on a groundout by Bumbry before scoring on a groundout by second baseman Jonathan Schoop to make the score 4-2.
The Baysox continued to chip away at the Altoona lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two out rally. Shortstop Manny Machado drew a two out walk and Joseph reached on a fielding error by the third baseman that allowed Machado to move to third. Barfield then singled to center field to plate Machado and make the score 4-3. Altoona reliever Mike Colla replaced Alderson on the mound to finish the inning.
The Curve extended their lead in the top of the sixth inning when Jeremy Farrell hit a two out solo home run to left-center field to make the score 5-3.
Left-handed Baysox reliever Mike Belfiore pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Wright, not allowing a hit while striking out two batters. Right-handed reliever Pat Egan pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Baysox and allowed one hit and struck out one batter.
Altoona reliever Mike Colla earned the win, pitching two and one-third scoreless innings where he allowed one hit and struck out two batters.
Schoop has started each of the past three games on the bench and then replaced Roberts at second base in the fourth inning. Despite not starting the games, he has been playing well offensively, recording two hits and an RBI Friday night.
“I am just trying to stay focused,” Schoop said. “[Denny Hocking] and I have been talking about doing different things and I just want to bring them into the game.”
LHP Zach Britton (0-0, 0.00) takes the mound for the Baysox tomorrow as they play the second game in a four game home series against the Altoona Curve. He will be opposed by RHP Matt McSwain (3-2, 4.44).
The Baysox are home through Monday, May 28 for an eight game home stand. Baltimore Orioles player Brian Roberts, Zach Britton, Mark Reynolds and Endy Chavez will be making Major League Rehab Appearances with the Baysox over the weekend.
Baysox Baseball – We’ll Knock Your ‘Sox Off. The Baysox 20th season is underway. Parking is free at every Baysox home game and tickets are now available at www.baysox.com, or by calling the Baysox box office at (301) 464-4865.