AKRON, Ohio - Sunday proved there's not much difference between the Curve and Akron on the field, but the Western Division standings paint a very different picture.
Altoona lost a pair of hard-fought, one-run games to the Aeros - the first one in 13 innings - and dropped into last place in the division at five games below .500. Akron, which leads the division overall and is on top of the Curve by 6 1/2 games, won in walk-off fashion in both games, 4-3 in the lengthy opener and 3-2 in the nightcap.
Altoona has dropped three in a row, and its offensive problems and road woes have played big roles in the team's gradual slide to the bottom of the division standings. Walks and wild pitches also did in the club Sunday.
The doubleheader sweep dropped the Curve to 2-8 away from home, and dismal offensive numbers are the biggest reason why. The club has scored only 22 runs in those 10 road games.
Both contests Sunday were scheduled for seven innings, but the opener last nearly twice that long.
Altoona took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but Kyle Cofield couldn't finish it off and blew the save. He allowed a one-out single to Kyle Bellows and hit Michel Hernandez, with both runners moving up on a groundout to first by Tim Fedroff.
With two outs, Cofield threw a wild pitch that allowed Bellows to score the tying run.
The Curve grabbed a 3-2 lead in the 12th when Matt Curry singled and scored on a single by Quincy Latimore. But again, Altoona's bullpen couldn't protect the lead.
Kris Harvey walked Fedroff to start the bottom of the 12th, and after a sacrifice bunt, Jared Goedert singled home Fedroff to tie it at 3-3.
Akron won with the help of another leadoff walk by Harvey (0-2) in the 13th, this one to Ryan Rohlinger. The runner took second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a two-out, game-winning single by Hernandez.
Preston Guilmet (1-0) won in relief for Akron.
The Curve showed some resiliency in game two as they tied the game at 2-2 in their final at-bat in the seventh. Charlie Cutler singled home pinch-runner Brock Holt to pull Altoona even, but a big double play grounder by the next hitter, Ramon Cabrera, prevented the Curve from having a chance to take the lead.
Akron once again got the benefit of a leadoff walk in its half of the seventh as Duke Welker issued a free pass to Roberto Perez. The Aeros loaded the bases with one out before the Curve got a forceout on Perez at home, but Welker (1-1) followed that with a wild pitch a few seconds later to allow Rohlinger to score the winning run.
T.J. McFarland (4-1) threw a complete game for Akron, giving up two runs on seven hits.
SUBHD: Doubleheader recap
Key players: LF Jared Goedert went 2-for-4 with a game-tying RBI in the 12th inning of game one for Akron, and Aeros starter T. J. McFarland threw a complete game in the nightcap.
Key play: RHP Kyle Cofield's wild pitch with two outs allowed Akron to tie the first game in the seventh inning, and several untimely walks and wild pitches cost Curve pitchers in both games.
Key stat: The Curve are 2-8 on the road and have scored only 22 runs in those 10 games.
SUBHD: How they scored
Top 2nd: Cabrera reached on fielder's choice, scored on Latimore fielder's choice (1-0); Farrell singled, scored on Berger wild pitch (2-0).
Bottom 2nd: Abraham walked, scored on Bellows single (2-1).
Bottom 7th: Bellows singled, scored on Cofield wild pitch (2-2).
Top 12th: Curry walked, scored on Latimore single (3-2).
Bottom 12th: Fedroff walked, scored on Goedert single (3-3).
Bottom 13th: Rohlinger walked, scored on Hernandez single (3-4).
Bottom 3rd: Perez walked, scored on Goedert sacrifice fly (0-1).
Top 4th: Brown doubled, scored on Cabrera single (1-1).
Bottom 6th: Chen singled, scored on Copeland double (1-2).
Top 7th: Curry singled, pinch-runner Holt scored on Cutler single (2-2).
Bottom 7th: Rohlinger walked, scored on Welker wild pitch (2-3).