Doubleheaders have not been friendly to the Curve this season.
They have been swept in four of six twinbills, including two more losses to Trenton on Wednesday. Without doubleheaders, the Curve would actually be a game above .500, but with a 2-10 record in doubleheader games, they find themselves seven games below the .500 mark.
"It's a player thing, it's got to come from them," manager P.J. Forbes said. "They got to realize it's 14 innings grinding it out, and until they do, this is what you'll see."
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Altoona’s Robbie Grossman robs Trenton’s Cody Johnson of a home run in the fifth inning at PNG Field.
Altoona was routed by the Thunder in the first game, 10-2, and the team was shut out in game two as Trenton won, 2-0, before 4,815 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The doubleheader was the first time the Curve played since getting swept out of Akron over the weekend, and the team has now lost five in a row. It's the longest losing streak since they lost six straight from May 8-14.
The Curve's offense was almost nonexistent in both games, as they mustered just seven hits in 14 innings. Quincy Latimore - who hit his team-leading fifth home run in the second inning of the first game - was the only Curve player to have a multi-hit night.
Tonight: Trenton at Altoona, 7 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve LHP Nathan Baker (3-6, 5.18) vs. Thunder RHP Adam Miller (0-1, 4.05)
While Altoona struggled at the plate, Trenton erupted in the fifth and sixth innings of the first game for a combined nine runs.
The Thunder scored three in the fifth off of Curve starter Phil Irwin, and they tacked on six more in the sixth - all of which were charged to reliever Logan Kensing, who lasted just two-thirds of an inning. Irwin (0-4) went five innings, and though he struck out seven, he allowed four runs on seven hits in a losing effort.
"We have to figure some things out offensively," Forbes said. "We hit some balls hard, but not enough. Irwin didn't throw the ball the way he's capable; Kensing didn't either. I expect those guys to get back to form and keep us in games and give us opportunities. But somehow we have to find a way to clean up the offense."
Tim Alderson, who was coming off his worst outing of the year (five earned runs, 10 hits in five innings at Reading) got the start in game two. Alderson (3-3) bounced back with a good outing, as he went six innings, struck out five and surrendered two runs on seven hits. But he received no offensive help and picked up a loss.
Both of Trenton's starters had strong performances. In the first game, Mikey O'Brien pitched five innings and gave up two runs, while in game two, Vidal Nuno threw six shutout innings and struck out seven.
The Curve's offense was bad in the first game and worse in the second. They managed just three hits - one each from Brock Holt, Jarek Cunningham and Latimore - and they had only two runners reach second base, both of whom were stranded there.
Altoona did go on to have a season-high seven game winning streak after the six straight losses last month, and Latimore is confident the team can rebound from its current skid.
"We got to look in the mirror and see what we're going to do, see the type of players we all are," Latimore said. "And I think we're going to bounce back fine. I'm not worried about it. I think we're going to be fine. We got a good group of guys here, very talented, and I believe we're going to finally start letting our talent take over here very soon."
SUBHD: Doubleheader recap
Key player: Trenton C Jose Gil didn't play in game two, but he was 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs in the first game.
Key play: Gil's three-run home run in the first game put Trenton in front, 7-2.
Key stat: The Curve are 2-10 in doubleheader games this season.
SUBHD: How they scored
Top 2nd: Mesa singled, scored on Gil single (0-1).
Bottom 2nd: Latimore solo homer (1-1).
Top 5th: Gil walked, scored on Mujica two-run homer (1-3); A. Almonte singled, scored on Adams single (1-4).
Bottom 5th: Farrell singled, scored on Gonzalez single (2-4).
Top 6th: Mesa walked, Murton singled, both scored on Gil three-run homer (2-7); A. Almonte walked, Adams singled, Johnson walked, all scored on Z. Almonte three-run double (2-10).
Top 4th: Z. Almonte singled, scored on Johnson single (0-1).
Top 6th: A. Almonte tripled, scored on Pirela single (0-2).