READING - With two outs and nobody aboard in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie ballgame, it looked like Wednesday's Eastern League All-Star Game was a sure-fire bet to end in a deadlock.
However, the Eastern Division All-Stars were able to put together a two-out rally and gave 9,477 fans a reason to cheer at FirstEnergy Stadium. Binghamton's Eric Campbell shot a single through the left side of the infield, which brought home Reading's own Troy Hanzawa and won the game, 5-4.
Harrisburg's Hector Nelo inherited the two-out, empty-base scenario, but couldn't get the final out and was handed the loss. New Britain's Daniel Turpen faced just one batter, but was the final pitcher for the Eastern Division and got the win.
The game was scheduled to go nine innings regardless of the score, and Curve shortstop Brock Holt said he wasn't sure if he ever played in a game without winning or losing.
"I don't know if I've ever played in a tie," said Holt, one of four Curve representatives on Western Division side. "I didn't know how it was going to play out if that's what happened. I heard them say it ends in a tie after nine because of pitching, which makes sense. But it would've been weird."
Joining Holt from the Curve were catcher Ramon Cabrera, as well as pitchers Vic Black and Brandon Cumpton. None of the four players started the game, but Holt and Cabrera entered in the fifth and Black pitched the seventh. Cumpton was not available due to throwing 76 pitches against Binghamton on Sunday.
Tonight: Altoona at Akron, 7:05 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve RHP Tim Alderson (4-3, 3.71) vs. Aeros TBD
Cabrera was in the thick of things defensively in his first inning behind the plate. The third batter in the bottom of the fifth, New Hampshire's Mike McDade, hit a high popup about halfway between home and first base. As seen many times in All-Star Games, there was a lack of communication on defense between two players, and neither Cabrera nor first baseman Jordan Lennerton from Erie got a good jump on the ball.
The switch-hitting catcher eventually made a stab at the ball on its way down, but it fell to the ground. Cabrera said miscommunication played a part on the play - which was ruled a hit - and he added he struggled to find the ball.
"I couldn't see it," Cabrera said. "I didn't know where the player was at first base, then I went for the ball and I missed."
Cabrera redeemed himself on the next foul popup that was hit in the inning, as he ended the fifth making a nice grab close to the seats and the first-base dugout to end the frame.
At the plate, Holt gave the people in Reading something fans in Altoona have seen many times this season when he drove a pitch right back through the middle for a base hit in his first at-bat. Holt, who's hitting .315 this season, ended up going 1-for-2.
Holt won the Star of Stars award at last season's EL All-Star Game when he hit a two-run homer. Though he didn't repeat his MVP performance - which Campbell won for his walk-off single - Holt said he enjoyed his All-Star experience.
"Reading was good to us, I had a lot of fun," Holt said. "It's always fun seeing the other guys in the league. You're always playing against them, so getting to know them for a couple of days is nice."
Meanwhile, Cabrera grounded out and popped out in two appearances at the plate. But he had the opportunity to catch six different pitchers, including Black, who struck out one in a scoreless seventh inning.
"You could probably see us laughing because we play every day," Cabrera said. "I knew what he was going to throw, I knew what he liked to do. When I went out with him, I just told him to have fun and do whatever you want and throw whatever you want."
Former Curve stars Rudy Owens and Starling Marte took part in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday in Buffalo. Owens pitched one scoreless inning of relief, allowing one hit with one strikeout and one walk. Marte went 0-for-1 for the International League All-Stars, which lost, 3-0, to the Pacific Coast League.