Craig helps lift Curve over Senators


Will Craig circled the bases for a go-ahead, inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning that pushed the Altoona Curve to a 4-3 win over the Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Curve (4-1) rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the seventh on Craig’s third homer in the last three games to top the Senators (2-3).
Craig stepped to the plate after back-to-back, two-out singles by Cole Tucker and Stephen Alemais. Altoona’s first baseman drove a 3-1 pitch from Claysburg, Pa. native Kaleb Fleck (Loss, 0-1) over the head of Harrisburg center fielder Rafael Bautista. The batted ball by Craig hit halfway up the wall in center and bounced back towards the infield beyond Bautista as Craig circled the bases.
Yeudy Garcia stranded the bases loaded in the eighth inning to hold the lead. Geoff Hartlieb (Save, 2) induced back-to-back groundouts to close out the contest in the ninth despite the Senators pushing one more run across the plate on a fielder’s choice.
In his first Double-A appearance, Altoona starting pitcher Taylor Hearn allowed one unearned run on one hit over five innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
The Senators took a brief 2-1 lead in the seventh inning after Jason Martin dropped a fly ball off the bat of Yadiel Hernandez. Curve reliever Logan Sendelbach (Win, 1-0) recovered from the miscue and retired the final batter he faced.
Altoona claimed a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Alemais after the leadoff hitter Tucker tripled to right field to open the inning.
Harrisburg tied the game 1-1 in the second inning after Altoona catcher Christian Kelley committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first base and Kelvin Gutierrez scored from second. Gutierrez reached on a two-out single, Hearn’s lone hit of the night.
Tucker, Alemais and Pablo Reyes each tallied two hits for the Curve. Alemais and Reyes have recorded at least one hit in all five games this season. Tucker has reached base in 21 straight games, dating back to last season.
Craig has now hit a home run in three consecutive games for Altoona and was the first Curve player to hit an inside-the-park homer since Alex Dickerson on April 7, 2013 at Erie.
With the first cycle through the rotation now complete, Altoona starting pitchers have surrendered just two earned runs through a combined 27.2 innings (0.65 ERA).
The Curve conclude their first homestand on Wednesday night against Harrisburg. Right-handed pitcher J.T. Brubaker (0-0, 1.80) will make his second start of the season for Altoona, and Harrisburg will turn to right-hander Brady Dragmire (0-0, 1.59).
The first 500 fans through the gates will take home a Replica 2017 Curve Championship Ring, presented by Stuckey Subaru. It will also be Winning Wednesday, presented by the Pennsylvania Lottery, when fans have a chance to win prizes from the PA Lottery. On the field, the Curve will debut their digital camo uniforms, presented by the Altoona Mirror. First pitch at PNG Field is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the ballpark gates open at 5 p.m.

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