Squirrels nip Altoona
The Richmond Flying Squirrels overcame an early deficit and held off the Altoona Curve, 5-4, on Wednesday night Peoples Natural Gas Field. The Curve were referred to as the Altoona Lake Monsters throughout the night as part of “What Might Have Been Night” at the ballpark.
Richmond right-hander Craig Westcott endured a troublesome bottom of the first, conceding three quick runs to the Curve. Brock Holt ignited the uprising with a single to left field. Holt was forced by Ramon Cabrera, but Matt Curry followed and decked a run-scoring double off the wall in center field. Jarek Cunningham then belted a two-run home run to left field, his second of the season landing beyond the bleachers for a 3-0 lead. The home run was the first surrendered by Westcott on the season.
The Squirrels got two of the runs back against Altoona right-hander Shairon Martis in the top of the second inning. Martis issued two walks in the frame, and Ryan Cavan made him pay for both with a two-run double to center field.
Westcott settled in, and Cavan and the Squirrels got back after Martis in the fifth inning. Johnny Monell started the inning with a single and Cavan followed with a triple to the right-field corner. Monell scored to tie the game, 3-3. Westcott followed and banged a single back to the mound that glanced off the mitt of Martis. Cavan raced in for the Richmond lead, 4-3. Cavan recorded three RBIs in the ballgame
In the sixth inning, Juan Perez homered to left field to extend the Richmond lead to two runs, 5-3. Perez’s fourth home run of the season came with one out off Martis.
Westcott returned for the bottom of the sixth inning and conceded an inning-opening double to Curry. Westcott recorded the first out and was lifted from the ballgame after 105 pitches. Right-hander Jake Dunning relieved him, but allowed a single to Jeremy Farrell to put runners at the corners with one out. Miles Durham lifted a sacrifice-fly to center field to score Curry and pull the Curve within a lone run.
Westcott (5-4) was charged with four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. He earned his fifth win of the season, surrendering six hits, walking two and striking out two. Martis (3-1) departed after six innings and was tagged with his first loss of the year. He permitted five runs on five hits, walked two and struck out two.
Dunning and right-handed closer Brett Bochy combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief behind Westcott. Dunning worked two innings, handing it off to Bochy with one out in the eighth inning. Bochy recorded the final five outs to earn his sixth save of the season. Included were back-to-back strikeouts of Farrell and Durham with the tying run at third base in the eighth inning.
The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for Thursday night at 6:30 at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Richmond RHP Andy Reichard (0-2, 6.00) will make the start opposite Altoona RHP Tim Alderson (3-1, 2.20). Pregame coverage will begin at 6 PM on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.