Reading Rallies Past Curve

READING, Pa. – In a game that featured five lead changes, the Altoona Curve fell to the Reading Fightin Phils, 9-8, on Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.

(Photo courtesy of Altoona Curve) 

The Curve (17-15) surrendered five runs to the Fightin Phils (12-19) in the eighth inning after taking the lead with four runs in the seventh.

Altoona held a 7-4 lead with one out in the eighth inning, but Malquin Canelo reached on a dropped fly ball by Altoona left fielder Logan Hill and circled the bases to score, closing Reading within two runs.

After a walk and a double, Tate Scioneaux struck out Cornelius Randolph for the second out. Geoff Hartlieb (Loss, 0-1) entered the game and walked Jan Hernandez to load the bases. Deivi Grullon followed with a go-ahead, two-out grand slam to give Reading a 9-7 lead.

Jason Martin led off the Curve ninth with a double, but Edgar Garcia (Save, 2) entered and struck out the next two batters. Down to the Curve’s final out, Christian Kelley worked a walk and Jordan George reached on a single to second base, scoring Martin to pull the Curve within a run.

With the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run at first, pinch-hitter Elvis Escobar flied out to deep right to end the game.

Reading opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run homer by Zach Green against Altoona starter Pedro Vasquez.

Altoona answered with a run in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Logan Ratledge.

In the top of the third, Hill drove a two-run, opposite-field home run to give the Curve a 3-2 lead. It was Hill’s fourth homer of the season, the most on the team.

The Fightin Phils reclaimed the lead in the fourth inning with an RBI single by Grullon and a run-scoring groundout by Emmanuel Marrero.

In the seventh, the Curve tied the score at 4-4 with a one-out single by Martin. Later in the frame with two outs, Bralin Jackson reached on a fielding error by pitcher Seth McGarry, bringing home two runs to give the Curve a 6-4 lead.

During the next at-bat, Kelley scored from third on a wild pitch by McGarry to extend the lead to 7-4.

Alexis Rivero (Win, 1-0) worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning for Reading.

Making his second Double-A start, Vasquez allowed four earned runs on six hits over five innings. Bret Helton worked a scoreless sixth, his third straight outing without allowing a run.

Scioneaux was charged with three unearned runs over 1.2 innings of work. Hartlieb picked up his third blown save of the season in his sixth chance after allowing two runs on one hit and one walk.

Martin went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and scored three runs. Will Craig had a 2-for-5 night with a pair of doubles. Kelley was 3-for-4 with a walk and scored one run.

Altoona outhit Reading 13-8 in the loss, working four walks and benefiting from three errors by the Fightin Phils.

Grullon finished with two hits and five RBIs for Reading.

The Curve and Fightin Phils play the third of the three-game series on Saturday night. Right-hander Dario Agrazal (2-0, 1.26) will be on the hill for Altoona, opposed by Reading lefty Ranger Suarez (1-2, 4.25). First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

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