Johnson’s heavy lifting not enough for Richmond
Altoona Curve right-hander J.T. Brubaker out-shined Richmond’s Jordan Johnson in a 3-1 Curve (11-10) win over the Flying Squirrels (14-9) Monday at The Diamond. Both starting pitchers were impressive with Brubaker (8IP, 6H, R. 0BB, 7K) besting Johnson (6.1IP, 3H,2R, 2BB,5K) in the series opener. Johnson accounted for the only run scored for Richmond by smacking his second home run in just three at bats this year. He Joins former Flying Squirrels pitcher Craig Westcott as the only pitchers to homer more than once in a season.
Johnson was once again the story in his fifth start of the year. Johnson rocked his second home run of the season to put Richmond ahead 1-0 in the third inning. Johnson took J.T. Brubaker deep over the left centerfield fence with one out in the inning. It was Johnson’s second home run of the season in just his third at bat of the year.
The Squirrels right-hander Johnson was also impressive on the mound. Johnson dealt with an error and a base hit in the first inning by grounding out Jordan George to end the inning. George’s put out was the first in a string of 11 consecutive batters retired by Johnson.
Johnson’s stretch of 11 consecutive retired was broken up by a walk of Elvis Escobar on a close 3-2 pitch. Escobar was subsequently picked off first, allowing Johnson to face the minimum in the fifth inning.
Altoona did not have a runner reach past second against Johnson in the first six innings. The game slipped away from Richmond when Ke’Bryan Hayes squibbed a double over first base with one out in the seventh and Jordan George worked a walk to end the day for Johnson. Caleb Simpson relieved Johnson with runners on in the seventh and yielded a two-run double to Will Craig. Craig’s double put Altoona ahead, 2-1. Elvis Escobar made it a 3-1 contest by plating Craig on a bouncing single to right field.
Simpson was charged with a blown save in the outing. Overall, Johnson (2-3) worked 6.1 innings in the defeat. He allowed two runs on three hits while walking two and striking out four. Johnson tossed a season-high 92 pitches
Despite the effort from Johnson, Altoona’s Brubaker was slightly better. The right-hander lasted eight innings and allowed just the one run on six hits while tossing a season-high 102 pitches. Brubaker (2-1) earned the win and Jesus Liranzo closed out the ninth for his first save of the season