Still waiting for the big hit, Senators drop sixth in a row

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For the first six innings on Wednesday night, the Senators could get very little going off Altoona starting pitcher J.T. Brubaker. Harrisburg managed only two hits, a pair of singles from Neftali Soto and Jose Marmolejos, and no walks during Brubaker’s time on the mound.

But once the Curve bullpen took over, the Senators responded with a three-run seventh on a Yadiel Hernandez RBI single followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Corban Joseph. “He’s a veteran guy who struggled at Triple-A and he wasn’t going to get to play much. He comes down here and will get more at-bats on a little more consistent basis,” LeCroy said of Joseph. “He’s put us in good spots at the end of the last two ballgames. Part of it is being an older player and understanding what the situation is.”

Still down 5-3 into the eighth, the Senators put together a rally off Altoona’s third pitcher of the night, Jared Lakind. The former first baseman converted to southpaw reliever, walked the first batter of the frame, Alec Keller. After Stephen Perez struck out, Marmolejos delivered a single into right field that moved Keller over to third base to put the tying runs on the corners. That brought Soto up to the plate.

For the Senators, it was the best matchup they could hope for with their cleanup hitter facing Lakind, who has struggled this season against right-handed batters. But on the first pitch of the at-bat, Soto hit a chopper up the middle that Altoona shortstop Kevin Newman gloved, stepped on second, and relayed to first for the inning-ending double play.

“That’s just the way it’s going,” LeCroy said. “He’s our most consistent hitter and the guy you trust the most in those spots.”

Joseph managed a two-out walk in the ninth off Altoona closer Montana DuRapau, but it was as close as Harrisburg would get in the 5-3 loss. “The boys are fighting. We get in situations, but just can’t get that big blow to put us over the edge,” LeCroy said. “Hopefully, the tide will turn.”

*****

Mark another checkbox off for Erick Fedde. For the first time in his brief role as a reliever, the 24-year-old right-hander had to warm up quickly to come into the game in the middle of an inning. Fedde needed only three pitches to record two outs to work out of the seventh inning.

“He elevated the one ball that they got a base hit, but he came back and made a pitch to get the double play ball,” LeCroy said. “It’s all part of the process. He’s athletic so whatever situation you put him in, he’ll be fine.”

*****

The Senators bullpen was effective and efficient keeping the Altoona run total at five. Fedde, Jimmy Cordero, Braulio Lara, and Andrew Robinson combined for 2.2 hitless innings on only 30 pitches…Marmolejos went 3-for-4 on the night to raise his batting average to .360 in 24 games…Joseph’s home run was the first for the infielder since last September 1…the Senators’ six-game losing streak is their longest since the 2015 team dropped seven in a row during the first week of June.

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