McRae Leads curve Past Senators

CURVE, Pa. – Alex McRae set a season best by logging eight innings of work for the Altoona Curve as they opened their five-game series with a win over the Harrisburg Senators, 9-3, at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Friday night.

McRae (Win, 3-4) allowed eight hits over his eight frames, allowing just one run while walking one and striking out four.

Altoona (51-38) improved to a season-best 13-games over .500, while Harrisburg (47-42) falls to four games back of the Curve in the Eastern League Western Division.

McRae was gifted an early lead as the Curve jumped on top with three runs in the bottom of the first, aided by a two-run Reese McGuire double, and in the third on an Eric Wood sacrifice fly to give Altoona an early 4-0 lead.

Wood added to his RBI total with a two-run single in the fifth inning to score Erich Weiss and Harold Ramirez, and Wood scored on a Barrett Barnes RBI single to extend the Curve advantage to 7-0.

Senators starter Boone Whiting (Loss, 0-2) left the game after getting hit in the leg by a come-backer off the bat of Ramirez. Whiting worked into the fifth, allowing three earned runs (six total) on five hits with no strikeouts and four walks.

Harrisburg scored its first run in the top of the sixth on a Neftali Soto RBI single, cutting into the Altoona lead at 7-1, but the Curve got a pair of runs back on a two-run triple from Weiss, making it 9-1.

Weiss now leads all current Eastern League players with eight triples this year, and is the third E.L. player this season to reach that mark.

Josh Smith struck out two batters in the top of the ninth, but allowed a two-run double to Stephen Perez. The game ended on a strike-them-out-throw-them-out when pinch hitter Khayyan Norfork struck out swinging and McGuire threw out Perez trying to steal third base.

Four Curve players finished with multi-RBI games, and three Curve players logged two-hit nights. Seven of the nine starters in the Curve batting order recorded at least one hit.

The Curve and Senators will play a doubleheader on Friday with a 5 p.m. first pitch from PNG Field. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ryan Voglesong will make his second rehab start opposite Harrisburg right-hander Michael Brady (2-2, 2.84) in game one, while Curve righty Clay Holmes (8-4, 4.30) will get the game two start against John Simms (5-4, 3.72).

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