Squirrels ambush Curve, take series opener
The Richmond Flying Squirrels (20-16) pounded out 13 hits – four from Luigi Rodriguez – in a 7-3 win over the Altoona Curve (18-16) on Monday evening at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Richmond jumped on Curve starter Nick Kingham after 46-minute rain delay to begin the game. Richmond starter Cory Taylor worked 5.1 innings to earn the win. The 13 hits matched a Flying Squirrels season-high.
Taylor bested Pirates hurler Kingham and surpassed his win total from all of last year in the process. Taylor (5-1) lasted 5.1 innings and allowed just two runs in six hits in the victory. The righty kept the Curve off the board through the first five innings and retired eight consecutive batters entering the sixth.
The Flying Squirrels worked up a 3-0 lead through the first two innings against Kingham. Luigi Rodriguez opened the game win an infield base hit and Aramis Garcia followed with an RBI double up the left field line. Kingham then walked Ryan Howard and unleashed a wild pitch, placing runner on second and third. Jerry Sands made it a 2-0 by grounding out to short, scoring Garcia.
Luigi Rodriguez continued the attack with an RBI triple in the top of the second inning. Rodriguez plated Ali Castillo for a 3-0 advantage. Rodriguez collected his first four-hit game of the year and raised his average to .407.
Kingham regained composure through the middle innings. The righty retired eight consecutive batters from the end of the second into the fifth. Rodriguez snapped that stretch with his third hit of the day – a base hit into left field. Garcia once again followed with a hit and Ryan Howard delivered an RBI double for a 4-0 Richmond lead. Kingham finished the inning and outing by grounding out Dylan Davis.
Kingham lasted 5.0 innings in his first start for Altoona since 2016. The righty made his MLB debut earlier this year and was sent to Altoona to keep on regular rest for the Pirates. Kingham (0-1) allowed four tuns on seven hits in the loss. He walked one and struck out four on 74 pitches.
With Kingham out of the contest, lefty Brandon Waddell took over to begin the sixth. Taylor aided his own cause with a two-run base hit, putting Richmond in the lead, 6-0. Waddell struggled with his command through three innings of work.
Reigning Player of the Week Jason Martin disrupted Taylor’s shutout with a leadoff home run to start the sixth. Martin drilled his fifth homer into the seats in left field for a 6-1 contest. Taylor ran out of steam and departed the game with a pair of runners on base. Will LaMarche relived Taylor and yielded an RBI groundout before ending the inning, 6-2.
LaMarche worked 2.2 innings of relief. He one run on two hits, keeping the Squirrels in front. Dillon McNamara tossed a scoreless ninth to end the game.