ALTOONA - Erie's pitching once again kept the Curve batters in check on Sunday as the Curve fell to the SeaWolves, 3-1, at Peoples Natural Gas Field. The Curve have scored just one run in the last two losses to the Howlers after scoring a combined 22 runs in the first two games of the series. All-Star Jameson Taillon (3-6) struck out six batters and walked none while once again matching a career-high with seven innings pitched. It's the third time this year and the sixth time overall that the righty has pitched seven innings.
The SeaWolves opened an early lead in the second inning. After Ramon Cabrera flew out to center in the first at-bat of the frame, Tyler Collins smacked Taillon's 3-0 pitch over the right-center field wall for the 1-0 lead.
Altoona had a good threat to tie the game or even take a lead in the second inning when the first two men of the inning reached. Erie starter Jon Link (2-1) put an end to the threat immediately thereafter with a flyout of Justin Howard and a double play ball off the bat of Charlie Cutler. It would be a sign of things to come for the Curve, who finished the night 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 men on the bases.
Erie extended their lead in the fourth. Hernan Perez opened the inning by singling into left field and quickly stealing second base. He advanced to third on a Cabrera groundout, setting the table for James McCann. McCann singled into left field, scoring Perez easily to go up 2-0.
Taillon then went on a roll after the McCann single, retiring nine in a row before a two-out single by Brandon Douglas in the seventh. When his day was all said and done, he'd used just 84 pitches to complete seven innings.
The Curve closed the gap in the seventh inning. Cutler led off the inning with a sizzling double down the right field line into the corner. Ali Solis popped out but Cutler tagged up and slid safely into third ahead of the throw. Mel Rojas, Jr. followed by drawing a walk. Adalberto Santos then grounded a single into right, scoring Cutler for the Curve's first and only run.
The SeaWolves cashed in an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. Perez opened up the inning with a grounded single to deep short. After a Cabrera fly out to left, Perez moved to second on a balk by Jhonathan Ramos. Collins continued his strong night with a double into right field that scored Perez easily and established the final score at 3-1.
Altoona put the tying runs on in the ninth with two outs but failed to score.
Cutler finished 2-for-4 with the run scored while Jarek Cunningham also finished 2-for-4. Howard, who carried a 12-game hitting streak and a 20-game on base streak into Sunday night's game, was 0-for-4 and had both streaks come to an end.
With the series now even at two games apiece, the Curve (39-49) will try to grab a series win in the final game before the All-Star Break at noon on Monday. The game is the second Super Splash Day of the season presented by the Altoona Water Authority. The third base concourse will be converted into a splash zone for gallons of watery fun. It's also a Mirror Monday at the ballpark with $4 off Grandstand tickets with the coupon from the front page of the sports section in the Monday edition of the Mirror.
Righty David Bromberg (4-8, 3.38) will get the start for the Curve on Monday afternoon and will face off against Matt Crouse (4-7, 4.59) of the SeaWolves.
-- Altoona Curve Media Relations