Archive for the ‘ Recaps ’ Category

Missed opportunities in nightcap tarnish come from behind win in doubleheader opener for Senators

Stephen Perez (Sam Getty / Harrisburg Senators)

Losing is not fun. But players and coaches know baseball teams, even great ones, are going to lose at least one-third of the games they play. This is not a case of accepting losing, but rather learning to live with failure so they can turn the page on a bad day at the plate, a poor outing, or just an ugly loss. It’s why the mood in the clubhouse after a 9-1 blowout loss is sometimes difficult to differentiate from a victory.

But there was no denying that after Tuesday night’s doubleheader split, the coaching staff and players were down much more than usual knowing they had multiple opportunities to sweep the Fightin’ Phils.

Behind 3-1, the Senators put together rallies in the fourth, fifth, and six innings but couldn’t break through. Six of their seven hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position came during that stretch.

“If we got some guys in from third, we’d be right there in the end,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “That killed us.”

***

In the twinbill opener, the Senators posted a 4-3 come from behind victory on a clutch single from Stephen Perez.

Harrisburg starter Wirkin Estevez labored through five innings allowing three runs on 10 hits. The Phils put the leadoff batter on base each inning against the 25-year-old right-hander as he dealt with traffic each frame.

“His fastball really got hit hard tonight,” LeCroy said. “He was just a little bit elevated with the heater.”

Reading starter Drew Anderson on the other hand made it look easy posting four zeroes. That is until the fifth inning when Yadiel Hernandez snuck a solo shot, his third homer of the season, over the bullpen wall inside the rightfield foul pole. Darian Sandford’s pinch-hit single later in the frame cut the Reading lead down to 3-2.

The runs chased Anderson from the game and put Harrisburg into the Reading bullpen, specifically southpaw Austin Davis, for the sixth inning. A leadoff walk from Raudy Read and a single from Hernandez put the tying and go ahead runs on base with one out. The baserunners moved up 90 feet on a fielder’s choice to bring Perez to the plate. The second baseman delivered a flare into right field that easily plated Read and after Reading first baseman Kyle Martin cut the relay throw allowed Hernandez to score without a play at the plate.

***

LeCroy on playing a doubleheader the night before a quick turnaround day game: “The worst part is the 12 o’clock game. When you have to deal with a 12 o’clock game the next day, you know you are going to be light. You try to figure out how you can use the least amount of pitchers. So you do things you normally wouldn’t do or think about.”

***

Jimmy Cordero worked a scoreless sixth and seventh to nail down the victory and pick up his second win of the season…called on to make spot start in the second game, Derek Self threw three hitless and scoreless innings…Senators’ batters fourth through ninth in the batting order went 0-for-15 in the nightcap.

Senators drop third straight series opener despite Raudy Read raking from the clean-up spot

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After the first three innings on Monday night, the Harrisburg Senators looked ready to mark another game in the win column. But the Reading Fightin’ Phils proved you need to play nine innings, even with an hour-plus rain delay, before you can make it official.

The Senators jumped out to an early lead with a three-run inning fueled by a pair of home runs from Alec Keller and Raudy Read. And with Harrisburg starter Matthew Crownover in cruise control, the game appeared well in hand against the Phils. Crownover made easy work of the Reading lineup the first time through the order as the southpaw retired the first nine batters he faced on only 26 pitches. But the Phils would answer the Senators’ three-run third with two of their own in the next half-inning to pull within one.

“I think what’s really been getting him is the shutdown inning,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “They’re not necessarily tying it back up, but they’re getting back in the ballgame. It keeps them too close.”

Both teams traded zeroes until the seventh inning when Crownover walked the leadoff hitter Jiandido Tromp and then hung a full-count slider to Mitch Walding who deposited it over the fence to give the Phils a lead they would never relinquish.

“I thought he threw the ball well,” LeCroy said of Crownover. “He just got into trouble with the walks. Up here they come back to get you.”

“To his credit, he goes out and battles. He’s not afraid of contact, I think he just thinks he needs to be perfect. When you try to be perfect, you run deep counts.”

***

Read had yet another monster night at the plate as the catcher slugged his seventh homer of the season along with two singles. Since being moved to the cleanup spot in the batting order after Neftali Soto’s promotion to Syracuse, all Read has done is go 6-for-10 with two home runs and eight RBI in three games.

“He’s staying in his legs a lot better,” LeCroy said. “Early on he was really struggling with the slider because he was coming up and out of his legs and not in a good position. But now he’s staying in it more and not missing that pitch they’re giving him.”

***

Keller’s home run that started the scoring for Harrisburg came on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Reading starter Ranfi Casimiro…Harrisburg had runners thrown out at home in both the fifth and seventh innings…the Senators outhit Reading 9-6 but left nine men on base in the loss.

Senators can’t scale Mt. Early Deficit, fall 5-3 to Flying Squirrels

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Some mountains are too tall to climb. A Richmond three-run third inning put the Flying Squirrels on a 5-1 peak the Harrisburg Senators could never reach on Sunday afternoon at FNB Field.

Making his first start as a Senator, Kyle McGowin allowed a single run in each of the first two innings before the Flying Squirrels struck for the deciding runs in the third frame. Two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases with one out for Tyler Horan. On a 2-2 pitch, the Richmond rightfielder drilled a double down the first base line that cleared the bases and gave the Flying Squirrels a lead they would never relinquish.

Harrisburg had multiple opportunities late but couldn’t come through with the equalizer.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Senators rallied against Richmond starter Jose Flores and two relievers as they pushed a run across on a passed ball with the bases full. After a walk to Khayyan Norfork reloaded the bases, pinch-hitter Mario Lisson battled in a 10-pitch at-bat but grounded out to end the threat.

“We had the right guy up at the right time,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I didn’t think that guy (Richmond reliever Jarret Martin) could throw him four fastballs for strikes in that 3-2 count but he did. Mario just missed it.”

An inning later, speedster Darian Sandford led off the frame with a walk but was thrown out at home on an Isaac Ballou double into the gap. The Senators would get another one back though when Ballou scored easily on a wild pitch.

In the eighth and ninth innings, Harrisburg would at least bring the tying run up to the plate but that was as close as they would get.

*****

Sunday was another example of the Senators being offensively dormant for much of the game until the late innings when they grinded at-bats and put pressure on the Richmond bullpen each inning.

“I like what we did at the end from the sixth through the ninth,” LeCroy said. “I think we can build off what we’re doing later. We just have to try and do that earlier.”

In some cases, you have to credit the opposing starter. Flores previously had a five-inning, one-hit outing against the Senators this season, so it was no surprise to see him in control for most of the game. But there’s no doubt the Harrisburg batters can improve their approaches at the plate from the first pitch on.

“We need to realize we have to make guys work, make them throw strikes,“ LeCroy said. “When you put pressure on them, bottom line is you make them throw more pitches. With runners on, it makes the game a lot different. The really good teams that win championships that’s what they do to their opponents. They wear them down.”

*****

R.C. Orlan, Jimmy Cordero, and Ryan Brinley combined for four scoreless innings of relief…Neftali Soto went 3-for-4 with a walk to raise his batting average to .326, tied for third best in the Eastern League…Sandford stole another base, his third in as many games, but was also caught stealing on the very next pitch when he tried to swipe third base…the Senators now head out on the road for their annual six-game road trip to New Hampshire and Portland.

With hits scarce to come by, Sandford delivers a walk-off single

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As Saturday night’s game between the Harrisburg Senators and Richmond Flying Squirrels headed into extra innings, both teams were struggling to find any kind of offense. The Flying Squirrels had been held to one hit all night, a single in the sixth inning, and the Senators had gone five-plus innings since their last base hit.

But moments after Isaac Ballou corralled a deep fly ball as he crashed into the wall in the right-centerfield gap, the outfielder led off the bottom half of the inning by drawing a walk. Manager Matt LeCroy pulled the levers and had Osvaldo Abreu lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance Ballou into scoring position.

After Stephen Perez flew out, Darian Sandford stepped to the plate and delivered a single to center that Ballou scored easily on when Richmond centerfielder Slade Heathcott’s throw airmailed the catcher.

The win was Harrisburg’s second in a row and third in last four games.

*****

When LeCroy removed Harrisburg starter John Simms from the game with two outs in the seventh inning, it wasn’t because the skipper needed a reliever to get out of a jam or that Simms had reached his pitch count limit.

In fact, the complete opposite on both counts. Simms allowed one hit, a single by C.J. Hinojosa singled past the outstretched glove of shortstop Osvaldo Abreu, in the game and the only other baserunners the Flying Squirrels had against the right-hander were from an error or being hit by a pitch (of which there were three of each).

Simms had been in control most of the night and had just delivered his 100th pitch on the second out of the frame. LeCroy could have pushed his starter for another batter or two, but he needed to get R.C. Orlan in the game and it was the best time to match up the southpaw versus the left-handed batting Slade Heathcott.

“That was his best one of the year for me,” LeCroy said of Simms’ outing. “His change-up was real good. He mixed in the off-speed and threw it for strikes. I was pleased with how he responded to the errors. It could have went south for him, but I thought he did a nice job of not letting that bother him.”

Simms had already faced the Flying Squirrels twice this season on back-to-back starts in late May, but none compared to the performance he gave on Saturday night at FNB Field.

“We made a change two bullpens ago with my glove side,” the 25-year-old right-hander said. “It just makes all my pitches sharper with the better angle downhill. Tonight I felt like I could throw all three of my pitches whenever in whatever count.”

“It was just one of those nights.”

*****

Simms became the 13th Senators pitcher in the modern era to hit three batters in a game, the last time was Richard Bleier on July 11, 2015…the right sde of the infield had a rough night as first baseman Jose Marmolejos misplayed a grounder and second baseman Neftali Soto had trouble gloving two balls in back-to-back innings…prior to the game, the Senators activated Drew Ward off the disabled list, although the third baseman didn’t see action in the contest.

First-timers Wirkin Estevez and Darian Sandford set the tone in 9-6 Senators victory

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Newcomers Wirkin Estevez and Darian Sandford, both making their Double-A debut, set the tone early while home runs from Osvaldo Abreu, Jose Marmolejos, and Raudy Read paced the Senators to a 9-6 victory over Richmond at FNB Field on Friday night.

Estevez earned the win over the Flying Squirrels allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out two over 5.1 innings. The 6’1” right-hander, who looks more imposing on the mound than that, overcame a case of adrenaline and nerves in the early going to settle down.

“I think he was a little amped up which is okay. I expected that,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “He survived those first three innings up, but he made some adjustments.”

The other first-timer in the lineup, Sandford, wasted little time showing what he brings to the table as a centerfielder and leadoff hitter. In the first inning he tracked down a ball easily in the left-centerfield gap and then gave the Senators a 1-0 lead in their first at-bats. The 30-year-old reached first on an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a RBI groundout.

“I think this will be a good thing for everybody,” LeCroy said about the addition of Sandford. “He can be a spark at the top and a guy that can make things happen. I think it turned [Richmond starter Jordan Johnson’s] outing around in the first inning.”

Harrisburg then proceeded to put up five runs in the next two innings all off the long ball as Marmolejos hit a solo shot and Abreu and Read each jacked two-run homers.

“We were able to come out and score after they scored, which I thought kept that momentum our way,” LeCroy said knowing all too well how that affects the team psyche. “If you don’t get that shutdown inning, it can be debilitating.”

The Senators did it again in the sixth. After Richmond plated a run, Harrisburg put up a three spot as they got RBI hits from Abreu, Stephen Perez, and Neftali Soto to go up 9-3 on their way to the victory.

*****

After losing Zach Collier to injury on May 12, the Senators turned to Alec Keller to fill that role both in centerfield and from the leadoff position. It was a job that Keller filled admirably, but neither was a natural fit for him as he navigated the ups and downs of his first season at Double-A.

“You’re asking a kid that can play center, but on an everyday basis is a tough job,” LeCroy said. “It’s like a second baseman having to play shortstop every day. Over time it wears on you with the responsibilities you have. He can handle all that, but he’s not used to it.”

After batting .300 and getting on base at a .333 clip in April, Keller saw those numbers go down since he had to take on the new role. The 25-year-old has hit only .246 since the Collier injury. The addition of Sandford to the roster, will ease Keller back to a corner outfield position and a spot farther down in the batting order.

“He did a good job but I think it’s time to take a little heat off of him,” LeCroy said. “He has that grinder mentality and he loves to play.”

*****

Corban Joseph left the game after taking a grounder off his throwing hand. LeCroy said: “It took a hop on him, he tried to catch it, and hit him on the fingers. Hopefully, he won’t be as bad as it looked.”…Perez was the lone Senator to reach base three times as the third baseman singled and walked twice…Phillips Valdez was the only Harrisburg reliever credited with a scoreless outing, but he did allow one of two inherited runners from Estevez to score.

Rumble Ponies canter their way to 4-3 victory over Senators

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Behind by a run and down to their last out with the bases loaded, infielder Corban Joseph had the opportunity for the Senators’ second walk-off win in as many days. But when Binghamton third baseman David Thompson squeezed Joseph’s pop up in foul territory, the Harrisburg comeback fell one run short on Sunday afternoon at FNB Field.

“I hate losing games like that,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “This team (Binghamton) has the record they have because they finish games. Bottom line.”

The two teams took a 2-2 tie from the fourth through the 11th inning until Binghamton finally struck for two runs off R.C. Orlan and Jimmy Cordero. The two relievers continued a discouraging trend as they walked four batters in the fateful inning. As a team, the Senators walked a total of 24 batters in the three-game series against the Rumble Ponies.

“It’s hard to compete up here if you can’t throw it over,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “It’s too hard when you give them free bases.”

“I can’t think of a better situation for Orlan to pitch in than against the lefties. He’s having a hard time getting them out. It’s not even really close so he’s going to have to work on some things. You pitch 1-0, 2-0 in this league they’ll make you pay. If you don’t throw it over at all, they really make you pay because now you’re dealing with traffic.”

But even faced with a two-run deficit, the Senators weren’t prepared to go quietly. After Yadiel Hernandez singled and Alec Keller walked, Mario Lisson singled up the middle to plate Hernandez and cut the lead in half. A fielder’s choice and walk loaded the bases for Joseph’s final at-bat of the game.

“I really like the fight of them at the end. We could have put our heads down and pouted, but they put together some pretty good at-bats and put pressure on them,” LeCroy said. “I’d like to see that intent a little bit earlier in the game.

“A lot of times with these games that are tied up they make early outs on early contact during poor at-bats on bad pitches. You’ve got to learn from that last inning that you can make the guy work a little bit. You’ve got to put heat on them. It’s hard. I don’t care what level you are at, that last inning is tough.”

*****

Despite falling in extra innings, the Senators outhit the Rumble Ponies 12-9…Senators’ relievers have allowed 24 runners to score of the 59 they have inherited this season including two of four on Sunday afternoon…Erick Fedde worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to lower his ERA as a reliever to 2.63…the Harrisburg defense kept the Senators in the game as the infield turned four double plays each one bigger than the previous one.

Khayyan Norfork sends the Senators home 5-4 victors on walk-off single

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The music seemed to be played a little louder in the Senators’ clubhouse after the team overcame a one-run deficit in their last at-bats for a 5-4 walk-off win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Maybe the music was played at the level it’s always at win or lose, but it sure seemed different on this Saturday night.

Perhaps it was just the laughs and upbeat attitudes that permeated through each and every player as they reveled in the victory reliving the last inning. Pitcher Jaron Long was busy holding court in the middle of the room as his broadcaster alter ego Greg “Money” Michaels took over the post-game wrap up duties. “A walk-off win,” overheard in the clubhouse. “We should do that more often.”

Or maybe it was just the sense of relief to finally win a game during a rough stretch in their schedule. “After losing last night, it’s been a tough two weeks,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “To win one like this, hopefully it gets us going a little bit.”

The Senators have found themselves on the losing end of games like this far too often this season. After battling for three hours, it was a much needed win for their collective psyche and to validate the hard work they’ve been putting in before the games.

Whether the music really was louder than usual or not wasn’t important. But on this Saturday night in early June with the season hanging on the precipice, it sure felt like it was and for good cause.

*****

Facing Binghamton reliever Cory Burns in his second inning of work, Spencer Kieboom proved to be a table-setter for the rally as he led off the ninth inning with a walk. Osvaldo Abreu laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Kieboom, the tying run, into scoring position. Manager Matt LeCroy swapped out the slow footed Kieboom for the speedy Stephen Perez as a pinch runner.

Yadiel Hernandez topped a ball in front of the plate that Burns fielded, but slipped on the grass as he tried to plant his foot. From his posterior, the reliever made the ill-advised decision to still try to throw out Hernandez at first. Instead the ball ended up all the way down in the right field foul territory allowing Perez to easily score the tying run and Hernandez to race all the way to third base on the throwing error.

“Yadi rang hard all the way down to first,” LeCroy said. “That’s the reason he was able to get all the way to third.”

That brought up Khayyan Norfork with the winning run 90 feet away. The second baseman wasted little time in building up the drama as he drilled Burns’ first offering past the third baseman down the line to plate the winning run.

*****

Down 3-0 in the fourth inning, Alec Keller led off the inning by flying out to Binghamton left fielder Kevin Taylor. That marked nine straight batters set down by Rumble Ponies’ starter P.J. Conlon who was on cruise control early keeping the Senators’ batters off balance. The next batter, Mario Lisson, looked like more of the same as the slugger watched the first two pitches go by for called strikes.he

But Lisson fouled off every Conlon offering that was near the plate and spit on the ones outside the strike zone until he found himself in a 3-2 full count. Two more fouls kept the Harrisburg third baseman alive until Conlon, on the 11th pitch of the at-bat, made a mistake with a change-up elevated in the zone that Lisson didn’t miss as he deposited it over the left-center field wall for his fifth home run of the season.

The at-bat and result seemed to throw Conlon off his game despite the still 3-1 advantage for Binghamton. Jose Marmolejos followed with a single and then Neftali Soto stroked another laser beam home run over the boardwalk and off the pavilion roof to even the score.

*****

Matthew Crownover allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings…the Rumble Ponies were shut down in three separate innings after loading the bases as Crownover got a fly out for the final out in a frame, Phillips Valdez induced an inning-ending double play, and Andrew Robinson struck out the only batter he faced in the top of the ninth to pick up his first victory of the season…Kieboom reached base safely three times with a single and two walks.

LeCroy searching for consistency from his pitchers as six-run inning goes for naught

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Despite a six-run fifth inning that gave the Senators a 6-5 lead, the Rumble Ponies galloped back ahead on Cody Decker’s grand slam off Harrisburg reliever R.C. Orlan to give Binghamton a 10-6 victory on Friday night at FNB Field.

Harrisburg starter Derek Eitel struggled to find the strike zone as the right-hander walked six in only 3.1 innings contributing to the Rumble Ponies plating five in the first four frames. Relievers Jimmy Cordero and Ryan Brinley also surrendered a free pass each to bring the team’s total to eight on the night.

“You don’t win too many games when you have eight walks,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “You’ve got to throw it over. You’ve got to be consistent. That’s why these guys are here. And when you’re not, this is what happens. You put pressure on yourself to make pitches. You put pressure on your team to make plays when you don’t throw it over.”

“The one thing these guys have to learn, because they all have the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, is consistency,” the skipper continued. “When scouts and people from our front office come to watch them play, they judge you on what it looks like and to see if you’re consistent. The guys that are the most consistent are the ones that are going to have a chance to move up.”

*****

Let’s delve into the six-run inning and how the Senators were able to solve knuckleballer Mickey Jannis despite pitching with a five-run advantage and needing just three outs to put himself in line for the win.

Alec Keller led off the inning with a sharp groundball that deflected off Decker, the Binghamton first baseman. Corban Joseph followed with a single and Jose Marmolejos was beaned to load the bases. Neftali Soto, the Senators’ cleanup hitter, bounced a double play ball to shortstop but the relay throw was wide at first and allowed Joseph to score behind Keller.

That cut the deficit to 5-2, but the Senators weren’t done yet as Raudy Read singled to keep the line moving. After Yadiel Hernandez lined out, an infield single from Stephen Perez loaded the bases. That was as much as Rumble Ponies’ manager Luis Rojas needed to see from Jannis as he went to the bullpen for Corey Taylor.

The Binghamton reliever hit Osvaldo Abreu with the first pitch he delivered to force in a run and keep the bases full. Pinch-hitter Mario Lisson, just added back to the roster from Syracuse, laced a double to the wall to clear the bases and give the Senators an improbable 6-5 lead they ultimately couldn’t hold.

*****

Drew Ward, who hadn’t played in the entire Altoona series, was retroactively placed on the disabled list prior to Friday’s game. The third baseman has been experiencing some minor discomfort in his left wrist.

“That’s the fortunate thing about the seven-day DL. You can give him some time off and then once he starts taking BP, we’ll see how it goes,” LeCroy said. “Tomorrow he’ll start running around a little bit to make sure his legs are still good.”

*****

The Senators added another one to their league-leading number of outfield assists when Hernandez threw out Kevin Kaczmarski trying to tag up on a fly ball to right field…Derek Self was the lone Senators’ pitcher to post a clean sheet as the reliever worked 1.2 scoreless innings while striking out two…Joseph went 4-for-5 and is now hitting .500 in his last four games after starting his Harrisburg tenure 0-for-10.

Patient at-bats and timely hits lead to Senators’ 6-2 win

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Prior to Thursday’s game, the Senators had led in a game just once over the past week. And then it was only a one-run advantage that lasted all of one inning. But against the Altoona Curve at FNB Field on Thursday, Harrisburg jumped out to an early 3-0 lead they never relinquished in their 6-2 victory.

With one out in the second inning, Isaac Ballou hustled his way to a triple on a drive that ended up rolling to the base of the wall in right-center field. Altoona, anticipating a tight, low-scoring affair, brought the infield in and Osvaldo Abreu ripped a single back up the middle to plate Ballou.

A walk to Khayyan Norfork and a bunt single from pitcher Taylor Hill loaded the bases for the top of the order. Alec Keller lined out hard to Chase Simpson at third base but all baserunners got back safely before they could be doubled off. That brought Corban Joseph to the plate and he ripped one off of Altoona starter Yeudy Garcia that trickled into shallow left field and pushed two more runs across to give the Senators a 3-0 lead.

Hill bent but didn’t break as he allowed a run in the third and fourth innings that cut the lead to 3-2. But the Senators came up with a big fifth inning that put the game out of reach. Three walks loaded the bases and the fourth both drove in a run and sent Garcia to the showers.

Abreu then lined a double down into the left field corner that plated two to give the Senators a little breathing room. “He’s got good hands, he’s a strong kid,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “He’s getting better. Defensively he’s been way better than I thought he would be here. He continues to work hard.”

The Curve loaded the bases in the seventh off Hill and Phillips Valdez, but the reliever induced an inning-ending groundout to first to end the rally. In a rare display of emotion, Valdez pumped his fist after recording the out while covering the bag.

“He’s been pretty emotional the last few times out,” LeCroy said. “After he took a stint on the DL, I think he realizes he needs to get going and compete every time out. He’s a great kid.”

Erick Fedde worked a scoreless ninth in the 6-2 victory.

“The guys had a good work day today,” LeCroy said. “They worked hard and hopefully we’ll continue to get on a streak.”

*****

The Nationals can once again mark off another checkbox for Erick Fedde. For the first time in his brief role as a reliever, the 24-year-old right-hander worked back-to-back days. Fedde allowed a leadoff single but struck out two, including the final batter, to secure the win.

“We’ll see how it is tomorrow. It’s all part of the plan, part of the process,” LeCroy said. “I’m sure that was a little different pitching in the ninth inning.”

*****

Joe Blanton made the start for the Senators as part of his rehab assignment and worked a perfect first inning before being replaced by previously scheduled starter Hill…Keller led the hit parade with three base knocks…One of the two runs Hill allowed was yet another home run, the 17th he has given up this season.

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.