Altoona goes deep thrice to trounce Senators 7-1
Benincasa and Lively combine for three scoreless
The Altoona Curve slugged three home runs to best the Harrisburg Senators, 7-1, in front of 3,348 fans at FNB Field on Monday evening. The loss coupled with Akron’s victory over Reading pushed the Senators 2.5 games out of the playoff picture.
Altoona jumped on Harrisburg starter Mark Blackmar for two runs on four singles and a walk in the first inning before the Senators even came to bat. Harrisburg (64-63) looked to respond as they loaded the bases off Tyler Glasnow making a rehab start for Altoona, but a strikeout and flyout ended the threat.
“Offensively, we had a chance in the first inning to get back in it but we had some poor at-bats,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “That would have changed things dramatically. It’s just been a bad bump in the road that we can’t get out of.”
LeCroy pointed to the work of MLB veteran Chris Stewart behind the plate for Altoona as a clear difference maker on Monday night. “He exposed everybody’s weakness once he exposed it. That’s the difference when you have a guy back there willing to call for the same pitch over and over until you prove to him you can hit it.”
Blackmar struggled working down and away from hitters, until Altoona used the long ball to extend their lead. In the fourth, Stetson Allie and pinch-hitter Tomas Morales went back-to-back to give the Curve a 6-0 advantage. The Senators got one back in the bottom half of the inning on a pair of singles and an error, but it was the only run they would plate in the game.
Altoona would go yard once more off Blackmar (3-4) as Brandon Barnes clubbed a solo shot to make it 7-1. Blackmar allowed seven runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out four.
“I don’t think he had much command,” LeCroy said. “But I really needed him to go to do what he did. I know he’s worn it a couple of times but you don’t want to go into tomorrow handcuffed.”
Relievers Robert Benincasa and Mitch Lively worked three scoreless innings to finish the game.
Adrian Sanchez accounted for three of the Senators’ seven hits. Jose Marmolejos also reached base three times on a double and two walks.
The Senators continue their three-game series with the Altoona Curve on Tuesday evening at FNB Field as Michael Brady squares off against Clay Holmes. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at senatorsbaseball.com, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m.