AKRON, Ohio - For the first time in team history, the Curve were no-hit by one pitcher in a nine-inning contest Sunday.
In a 104-pitch masterpiece, Akron's Giovanni Soto threw a no-hitter against the Curve. Soto struck out six batters in the process, and it's the sixth time the Curve have been no-hit in their history, the first time since 2010.
"He hit both sides of the plate, kept us off balance. We didn't get a lot of good swings off of him," Curve manager P.J. Forbes said. "When you're not swinging it well - which I don't feel like we did the whole series - it's kind of the perfect storm today."
Even without a hit, the Curve managed to score run off of Soto (6-6), but Akron had just enough offense of its own and won, 2-1, to make southpaw's effort a winning one.
Soto, a 21-year-old from Carolina, Puerto Rico, allowed only three runners on base in his gem, all due to walks. But he only faced one more batter (28) than the minimum thanks to two double plays.
Two of the three runners for the Curve who drew the free passes ended up being cut down at second base on a pair of double plays. The other was Jarek Cunningham, who came around to score on an RBI groundout by Kelson Brown after he walked and advanced to third base on a throwing error.
Out of the six times Altoona has have been no-hit, this was just the second time the team was held hitless in a nine-inning game, the other was a three-pitcher effort by Bowie in 2004.
The Curve's offense has been quiet since the All-Star break as they've scored six runs in four games, and their bats have also been quieted by Soto whenever he faces them this season, not just Sunday. In four games against the Curve this season, Soto is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and has 20 strikeouts in 24 innings.
"We have not swung the bats particularly well the last four days, and today, with him commanding three pitches and both sides of the plate, it just kind of fell that," Forbes said. "And unfortunately we couldn't get one to fall in."
The Curve have thrown just one no-hitter in their history as Adrian Burnside, Neal McDade and Chris Spurling combined to no-hit Akron in 2002. And though Phil Irwin didn't change that, he had a great outing of his own.
Irwin (1-7), allowed just two runs - one earned - on five hits in eight innings. The righty also matched Soto's six strikeouts, but Irwin was still saddled with the loss.
Soto's no-hitter came full circle as Robbie Grossman, the Curve's leadoff hitter who flew out to start the game, flew out again for the 27th out. Grossman entered the contest with a 26-game on-base streak and though he was the only Curve batter to have four plate appearances, the centerfielder went 0-for-4 and his streak was snapped.
With the no-hitter on their minds, Curve players now head east to open a three-game set in Richmond tonight, which Forbes said is a good thing.
"We're going to a new city, so hopefully they look at it as a fresh start [Monday]," Forbes said. "For us that's the main thing. We talk about it all the time. You've got to have a short memory in this game, and today's over. Digest this, move on with this and move on."
SUBHD: Game recap
Key player: Aeros LHP Giovanni Soto threw a complete game no-hitter. Soto only faced 28 batters in the game as he tossed 104 pitches, walked three and struck out six.
Key play: CF Robbie Grossman was the Curve's last hope to end Soto's no-hit bid, but Grossman flew out to end the game.
Key stat: Soto's no-no was the first time the Curve have been no-hit by a single pitcher in a nine-inning contest.
SUBHD: How they scored
Bottom 1st: Holt singled, scored on Brown error (0-1).
Bottom 4th: Neal hit by pitch, scored on Hernandez single (0-2).
Top 6th: Cunningham walked, scored on Brown groundout (1-2).
SUBHD: Covering the bases
LEADING OFF: Akron LHP Giovanni Soto became the third pitcher to throw a no-hitter against the Curve by himself. Both of the other instances happened during the 2007 season, once in a five-inning game against Trenton and the other being a six-inning affair against Reading.
SAFE AT FIRST: Soto's name may sound familiar to baseball fans, but it's probably because of Cubs catcher Geovany Soto. Geovany was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2008 and is hitting .189 this season.
STEALING SECOND: The last time the Curve were no-hit was in 2010 against Harrisburg. In a seven-inning game, the Senators used three pitchers -Chuck James, Cole Kimball and Zech Zinicola - to complete the no-no.
ROUNDING THIRD: Though he was credited with a loss, RHP Phil Irwin was sharp against the Aeros. In eight innings, Irwin allowed just one earned run on five hits and in his last four starts, Irwin has a combined ERA of 1.29.
HEADING HOME: Altoona does not return to Canal Park to play Akron again this season, which is probably a sigh of relief for most Curve players. In 10 games in Akron this season, the Curve are a lousy 1-9.