HARRISBURG - Ending strong, whether it's a game, an inning or whatever else, is something P.J. Forbes has stressed to his team all season.
It's not something the Curve did well Wednesday.
In their 5-2 loss to Harrisburg at Metro Bank Park, Curve pitchers allowed all five runs with two outs, and their hitters combined to strike out 12 times.
"Our thing all year has been 'finish,''' said Forbes, the Curve's manager. "Finish innings on the mound, finish innings at the plate, finish the baserunning. Finish. When you give up five two-out runs, you didn't finish.''
The inability to end innings started for the Curve in the second. Starter Kyle McPherson retired the first two batters in the frame, then issued a walk to Jimmy Van Ostrand.
The next batter was Manny Mayorson, who sent a line drive to left field that looked like it was falling in for a single, but it didn't. The play was not an error in the box score, but right fielder Evan Chambers charged the ball, attempted to make a sliding catch and whiffed. The ball went by him all the way to the wall, allowing Van Ostrand to score and Mayorson to get to third.
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: The Pirates claimed Oscar Tejeda off waivers from Boston's organization Wednesday, and he was assigned to the Curve. Primarily a middle infielder in his career, Tejeda switched to the outfield and hit .262 in 51 games for Double-A Portland this season. He was rated as the 24th-best prospect in the Red Sox organization by Baseball America prior to the season.
SAFE AT FIRST: RHP Shairon Martis was traded from the Curve to the Minnesota Twins organization Wednesday. Martis spent time with both Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis this season. In 11 games with the Curve, Martis made eight starts and threw 53 1/3 innings, while compiling a 6-2 record with a 4.56 ERA.
STEALING SECOND: LHP Kris Johnson was sent down from Triple-A Indianapolis to Altoona on Wednesday. Johnson has been back and forth between Altoona and Indy this year, and he pitched for the Curve Wednesday for the first time since May 8. He allowed one run on three hits in two innings of relief.
ROUNDING THIRD: P.J. Forbes is now 0-2 when going for win No. 100 as manager of the Curve. Forbes collected his 99th win on Monday when the Curve downed Akron, and he is 99-118 since taking over in Altoona last season.
HEADING HOME: 1B Matt Curry hit his second home run Wednesday since coming off the disabled list last week. Since his return, Curry is hitting .360 (9-for-25) with two homers and five RBIs in seven games.
- Stephen Pianovich
The Senators scored one more in the second and added another pair of runs with two outs in the third to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
McPherson (1-2), who missed the first 21/2 months of the year due to shoulder inflammation, got in a groove after the fourth run crossed the plate and sat down the final 10 batters he faced.
In his third start of the season for the Curve, McPherson went six innings and gave up four runs on seven hits with one strikeout. Forbes said the pitcher got in trouble when he left balls up in the zone.
"He's got to pitch at the knees to be effective, as most pitchers do,'' Forbes said. "So just getting him back down in the zone [is important]. I think he used his secondary pitches well as the game went on; I think it's why he was able to retire the last 10.''
Opposing McPherson was Paul Demny, who kept the Curve's offense quiet.
Demny (6-4) recorded nine strikeouts total and struck out the last batter he faced in the second inning as well as the side in the third for four straight strikeouts. For the day, the righty gave up one run on five hits in seven innings along with one walk.
"He was locating really well,'' Stefan Welch - who went 0-for-4 - said of Demny. "The first couple of innings he was doing really well, and we were able to make some adjustments, but he was throwing really well today.''
Charlie Cutler was the only hitter in the Curve's starting lineup who did not strike out, and Forbes said many of them were on balls that were out of the strike zone.
"It's just about that 27-out mentality, finishing at-bats,'' Forbes said. "Our two-strike approach today, seven or eight out-of-the-zone chases, that's [not] finishing the at-bat.''
Key player: Senators RHP Paul Demny struck out nine batters and allowed only one run in seven innings.
Key play: Harrisburg 3B Manny Mayorson sent a line drive to left in the second, which got by Curve RF and started the scoring for the Senators.
Key stat: The Curve struck out 12 times.
How they scored
Bottom 2nd: Ivany walked, scored on Mayorson triple (0-1); Demny single scored Mayorson (0-2).
Bottom 3rd: Valdez singled, Pahuta singled, both scored on Ivany single (0-4).
Top 5th: Cutler singled, scored on Grossman single (1-4).
Bottom 7th: Perez singled, scored on Valdez double (1-5).
Top 9th: Curry solo homer (2-5).