Keller’s 11 K’s Help Curve Inch Closer to Division Title

CURVE, Pa. – Top Pirates pitching prospect Mitch Keller set a career high with 11 strikeouts as the Altoona Curve held off the Harrisburg Senators, 6-5, on Friday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

(Photo: Mitch Keller. Photo courtesy of Altoona Curve)

The Curve (72-65) led the Senators (59-78) 5-0 when Keller left the game, but the bullpen allowed five late runs.

Keller (Win, 2-2) was dominant, hurling six scoreless innings and collected six strikeouts in his final two innings. He recorded the most strikeouts in a game for the Curve since Tyler Glasnow struck out 12 hitters on July 27, 2015.

Altoona opened the scoring in the first inning. Pablo Reyes hit a triple with one out and Jordan George drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

In the fourth, George singled and scored on an RBI double by Anderson Feliz.

Altoona’s biggest inning was the sixth when the club plated three runs. With the bases loaded and one out, Jonathan Schwind knocked a pinch-hit RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0. Cole Tucker was then hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to plate another run. Reyes followed with an RBI fielder’s choice groundout to stretch the score to 5-0.

In the seventh, Harrisburg spoiled the shutout after pinch-hitter Jose Marmolejos hit a two-run single to cut the lead to 5-2.

The Curve scored their final run in the bottom of the seventh when Jerrick Suiter doubled and later scored on a wild pitch.

Luis Heredia allowed two runs in the seventh inning before Tate Scioneaux allowed three runs on five hits on 0.2 innings. Yeudy Garcia (Save, 4) pitched 1.1 scoreless innings to close out the game, stranding two runners in both the eighth and ninth innings.

Altoona’s “magic number” to clinch the Western Division is three with three games remaining the regular season. The Curve have a 1 ½ game lead over Bowie. The Baysox were rained out on Friday in Richmond.

Senators starter Matthew Crownover (Loss, 1-7) allowed two runs on five hits in five innings. Braulio Lara gave up three runs (one earned) in the sixth inning. Jimmy Cordero allowed the final run in his two innings of work.

Keller’s outing was the 11th in Curve history when a pitcher recorded 11 or more strikeouts.

Altoona will play the second of the four-game set against Harrisburg on Saturday. The Curve will send right-hander Alex McRae (10-5, 3.67) to the mound, while righty Kyle McGowin (1-5, 7.17) will start for the Senators. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

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