Mitch Keller limited the Harrisburg Senators to one hit over eight shutout innings before Montana DuRapau recorded the final three outs of a 4-0 victory for the Altoona Curve on Monday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The shutout for the Curve (37-33) is the fifth of the season for Altoona’s pitching staff and the third started by Keller (Win, 9-2). The Senators (40-35) were held off the scoreboard for the ninth time this season, the most among teams in the Eastern League.
Keller faced the minimum through five innings on 46 pitches. The only baserunner for Harrisburg through the first five frames was their only hit of the game, a one-out single in the first by Carter Kieboom which was just out of reach for second baseman Stephen Alemias. Harrisburg’s third hitter, Jake Noll, bounced into an inning-ending double play to begin a string of 13 straight Senators retired by Keller.
His steak ended with a lead-off walk to Adam Brett Walker in the sixth, Keller’s first three-ball count of the game. The sixth inning ran up Keller’s pitch count, requiring 25 pitches. Walker was the only Senator left on base in the game for Harrisburg while no Senator runners got into scoring position. With the help of a line-out double play to end the seventh that erased his second walk of the night, Keller faced the minimum over his final three innings.
The Curve offense came up empty in the first inning despite a runner at third base with one out but tacked on their first run in the second when Christian Kelley ‘s double brought in Bralin Jackson from first base. Logan Hill drove home Jason Martin and Jackson plated Will Craig , who reached on a 12-pitch walk, from third on a sacrifice fly to expand the Altoona lead to 3-0 during a two-run third.
Martin’s second hit of the game in the fifth and an eighth-inning double bookended a series of nine consecutive hitters sat down by Harrisburg pitchers. His 3-for-4 performance was his ninth three-hit game of the year and his team-best 25th multi-hit game of the campaign. During the eighth, Martin scored on a double-play ball off the bat of Hill. Cole Tucker (2-for-4), Craig (2-for-3) and Kelley (2-for-4) all joined Martin with multi-hit games.
With the winning decision, Keller became the first Eastern League pitcher to nine wins on the season and set a new regular-season, career high with eight innings of work. Keller’s ninth win also ties a single-season, career-best total.
The Curve and Senators continue their series on Tuesday with a double-header beginning at 5 p.m. Left-hander Taylor Hearn (2-5, 3.63) will start for the Curve across from right-hander Jaron Long (1-5, 4.03) for the Senators in the first game. In game two, Austen Williams (2-1, 1.49) will start for Harrisburg against a to-be-determined pitcher for Altoona.