Homers doom Senators in 4-3 loss to Altoona

 

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Reeling from a four-game weekend sweep in Erie, the Senators returned to FNB Field on Tuesday night and dropped their fifth straight, 4-3, at the hands of the Altoona Curve. The Curve slugged three long balls off Harrisburg starter John Simms to make the difference in the contest.

“When he made a mistake, they made him pay,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “It wasn’t base hits, it was homers.”

After garnering just 19 hits in the four-game set against the SeaWolves, the Senators rapped out 11 hits in the losing effort against Altoona. It was the first time in the last 12 games the Senators reached double-digits in the hit column.

“I thought our at-bats were better. A little bit better intent with runners in scoring position,” LeCroy said. “I think our offense will come around. It’s just one of those periods where things aren’t falling our way. Hopefully that will change.”

Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Senators rallied for two runs to reduce the Curve lead. Three straight singles from Neftali Soto, Isaac Ballou, and Raudy Read loaded the bases for Corban Joseph. The second baseman grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice that scored Soto from third base. Osvaldo Abreu followed with a single that plated the second run.

Moments later with Simms up to bat and Joseph on second base, Abreu took too big of a secondary lead and Altoona catcher Jin-De Jhang picked him off first base. It was a bad mistake on the basepaths with the next base occupied and the lineup about to turn over. Instead, the pitcher’s spot was forced to lead off the next frame.

“It’s why he’s here,” LeCroy said. “It’s a young mistake. They’ve run that back pick on us for four years and we had just done reminding them about the back picks.”

After Altoona’s Jordan Luplow blasted a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning, Harrisburg responded with a run of its own. Pinch-hitter Stephen Perez delivered a single up the middle to score Joseph from second.

 *****

Drew Ward was penciled into the original lineup, but found his name absent come game time. Instead Soto made his first start at third base this season, Jose Marmolejos moved from left field to first base, and Ballou hit in Ward’s usual fifth position in the order. LeCroy said it was just “general soreness” and that he would likely be back starting in Wednesday’s game.

*****

Alec Keller led the offensive attack with three hits…Ryan Brinley worked two scoreless innings in relief while striking out three…Yadiel Hernandez was activated off the temporary inactive list and went 0-for-4 from the #2 hole.

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