BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - Gerrit Cole, the Pirates' top prospect, is expected to make his next scheduled start tonight for the Curve after taking a scary line drive at his head his last time out.
Cole will take the ImPACT concussion test again today, Curve manager P.J. Forbes said, and if all goes well, the right-hander will start at Binghamton.
The Curve posted their fourth straight win Sunday afternoon at NYSEG Stadium, 7-4, as Stefan Welch homered twice, drove in four runs and went 4-for-5 against the B-Mets.
Cole will try to help make it five wins in a row and look to bounce back from a rough showing Tuesday at Harrisburg. He was not injured when hit by a line drive in the first inning, but he did allow three runs on five hits in just one frame.
"I'm just looking for him to bounce back and be comfortable out there, that's the main thing," Forbes said on his weekly radio show Sunday.
"I want him to go out there, and I'm sure there's going to be a little gunshyness after what happened. But I think it's important to get him back out there, let him compete, get his feet wet again and settle back in."
Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: INF Kelson Brown may be out "a little while longer" after getting hit in the head Thursday at Harrisburg, manager P.J. Forbes said. Brown is suffering from dizziness and headaches.
SAFE AT FIRST: OF Adalberto Santos could be rejoining the Curve soon after missing the past two months with a knee injury. Santos has been rehabbing with the rookie GCL Pirates since Friday and went 5-for-12 (.417) with three doubles in his first three games. Santos was leading the Curve with a .396 average in 17 games before his injury.
STEALING SECOND: CF Robbie Grossman continues to surge offensively after a slow start. He had his 13-game hitting streak snapped Saturday, but he rebounded with a 2-for-4 effort Sunday to get his average to .246.
ROUNDING THIRD: SS Brock Holt went 2-for-4 Sunday to raise his average to .325, good for fourth in the EL.
HEADING HOME: The Curve are back within two games of .500 at 39-41. They haven't been at the break-even point since April 16 when they were 5-5.
- Cory Giger
Cole stayed in the game Tuesday after the scary incident but was lifted after the first inning for precautionary reasons. He went to a hospital in Harrisburg for tests, which came back negative.
"You want to be careful in that situation, but you also don't want to take away from the guy's ability to compete," Forbes said of letting Cole finish the first inning, which the pitcher wanted to do. "Hindsight being 20-20, you wonder what you would do the next time.
"But competitive-wise, the guy wants the ball, and he wants to continue to battle. It says a lot about the kid and what he brings to the table."
Welch has brought a lot to the table for the Curve offense since coming up from Single-A Bradenton two weeks ago. His two homers Sunday give him four in just 15 games, and he's batting .431 with 14 RBIs.
Welch hit a two-run homer in the second for a 3-0 Curve lead, and he belted another two-run shot in the fourth as Altoona pulled ahead, 6-0.
"I'll try to be productive, and wherever I am in the lineup I'll just try to do my best there," Welch said following a game in Harrisburg last week.
"Obviously he's shown he can drive in runs since he's been here," Forbes said during the road trip.
Quincy Latimore hit his team-leading ninth homer for the Curve, who had 14 hits, including two apiece from Latimore, Robbie Grossman, Brock Holt and Ramon Cabrera.
Matt McSwain (3-2) gave up three runs in five innings to earn the win, while Vic Black pitched two scoreless innings to close it out for his fifth save.
Cory Mazzoni (1-2) gave up six runs in four innings to take the loss for Binghamton.
Key player: 3B Stefan Welch went 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs.
Key play: Welch's second two-run homer, in the fourth, helped the Curve break things open with a 6-0 lead.
Key stat: Welch is hitting .431 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 15 games with the Curve.
How they scored
Top 2nd: Curry doubled, scored on Cabrera single (1-0); Welch two-run homer scored Cabrera (3-0).
Top 4th: Cabrera singled, scored on Welch two-run homer (5-0); Latimore singled, scored on Grossman double (6-0).
Bottom 4th: Campbell singled, scored on Ozga fielder's choice (6-1); Tovar double scored Ozga (6-2); Pena singled, scored on Martin groundout (6-3).
Top 6th: Latimore solo homer (7-3).
Bottom 7th: Lagares singled, scored on Inman wild pitch (7-4).