Richmond salvages split with Altoona
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Left-hander Edwin Escobar returned to form as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (68-66) salvaged a series split with the Altoona Curve (61-73) by earning a 3-0 shutout win in front of 6,997 at The Diamond on Sunday afternoon. The shutout was the 14th of the year for the Squirrels. With other Eastern League action incomplete, the Squirrels will either be 2 or 2 ½ games out of a playoff spot by day’s end.
After three scoreless innings, the Squirrels finally broke on top in the fourth inning against right-hander David Bromberg. Bromberg issued a walk to Angel Villalona with one out in the frame. Jarrett Parker followed and cracked a low-flying two-run home run to right field. Parker’s 17th of the year put Richmond in front, 2-0, and established a new Squirrels’ franchise record. Parker previously shared the record with Javier Herrera (2013) and Roger Kieschnick (2011).
The Squirrels tacked on a run with a second long-ball off Bromberg in the sixth inning. Adam Duvall led off with a solo-shot to right field. The opposite-field drive was Duvall’s 15th of the season and gave the Squirrels a 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Escobar (5-3) was tremendous into the seventh inning. He worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits – all singles. In one stretch, he retired 11 consecutive batters as he earned his fifth of the year. He walked just one, his final batter, and struck out six.
Bromberg (6-11) took the loss over six innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out four.
Right-hander Edwin Quirarte followed Escobar and retired all five batters that he faced to bridge the ballgame to the ninth inning. Closer Cody Hall entered for the ninth and earned his eighth save of the season as he preserved the shutout.
The Squirrels embark on their final road trip of the regular season as they travel to Reading, PA, to open a four-game series with the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) at FirstEnergy Stadium on Monday night. First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for7:05 p.m. as Richmond RHP Craig Westcott (5-11, 3.92) will make the start against Altoona LHP Bobby Bramhall (1-3, 3.23). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup will begin on Sports Radio 910, www.sportsradio910.com and IHeart Radio at 6:35 p.m.