Richmond Flying Squirrels TKO Altoona, 13-2
It was a fight at the bat rack for the third consecutive day as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (26-23) mauled the Altoona Curve (20-30), 13-2, on Monday afternoon at Peoples Natural Gas Field. It marked the third straight win for Richmond as they took the four-game series. It was also the third straight game that the Squirrels plated double-digit runs.
Pirates’ right-hander James McDonald made a rehab start for the Curve and did not look sharp in the first inning. He walked Jarrett Parker to open the ballgame on four pitches. Joe Panik followed, and also drew a walk after a lengthy confrontation with McDonald. Adam Duvall then cranked a fastball into the left-field bleachers. The three-run home run gave the Squirrels a 3-0 lead. McDonald went on to walk two more batters in the inning and was removed in favor of left-hander Nate Baker. It marked the second consecutive ballgame that the Curve starter did not survive the first inning. McDonald (0-1) took the loss in his rehab outing.
Richmond righty Fabio Castillo had issues of his own in the bottom of the first inning. Gift Ngoepe start the inning with a double into the right-center field alley. Mel Rojas Jr. followed with a single back through the middle to plate Ngoepe with the first run of the day for Altoona. Castillo finally settled in and exited the inning with Richmond in front, 3-1.
The Squirrels were at it again in the third inning as Duvall and Minicozzi started the frame with back-to-back singles off Baker. Ryan Lollis bunted up the pair and Javier Herrera delivered a sacrifice fly to right field for a 4-1 lead. After Andrew Susac walked, Travious Relaford singled on the infield to bring in Minicozzi for a 5-1 advantage.
Baker returned for the fourth inning and walked Castillo on four pitches to start the inning. An out later, he conceded a single to Panik and was lifted in favor of righty David Bromberg. He got past Duvall, but Minicozzi laced an RBI single into left field that scored Castillo. Lollis followed with a single to bring in Panik and Bromberg walked Herrera to load the bases. Andrew Susac then rifled a two-run single into left field to push the Squirrels in front, 9-1.
Andrew Lambo tripled home Rojas Jr. in the bottom of the fifth inning, signaling the end of the day for Castillo. He left ineligible for the win, having conceded two runs over 4 1/3 innings. He conceded six hits, walked three and struck out a season-high eight.
Right-hander Taylor Rogers (3-2) took over for Castillo and retired all eight batters he faced to earn the win. It was the third victory of the season for Rogers.
The Squirrels iced the win with four more runs against Bromberg in the seventh inning. Parker cracked an RBI triple, Panik lifted a sacrifice fly and Lollis and Herrera recorded RBI singles. Minicozzi finished the day with four hits (4-for-5), while Lollis recorded his second consecutive three hit game (3-for-4, 2 RBI).
Left-handers Tom Vessella and Phil McCormick each handled an inning of relief to finish off the Curve. Vessella handles the eighth and McCormick finished the ballgame.
The Squirrels continue their weeklong road trip as they travel to New Britain, CT, to open a three-game series with the New Britain Rock Cats on Tuesday night at New Britain Stadium. First pitch is scheduled at 6:35 p.m. as Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (3-1, 4.89) will make the start against Rock Cats LHP Logan Darnell (4-3, 2.47). Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 6:05 p.m.