From Mirror reports
TRENTON, N.J. - The Curve spoiled Gerrit Cole's best Double-A start to date and fell back to .500 Tuesday night.
Cole recorded six strikeouts and allowed three hits in six scoreless innings, but didn't get a win as Trenton struck with two runs in the seventh, and held on, 2-1, against the Curve at Mercer County Waterfront Park.
The six-inning outing is the longest in Cole's Curve career and it's the first time last year's No. 1 overall pick in the MLB draft held his opponent scoreless in a Double-A start. It took Cole 82 pitches - 53 of which were strikes - to get through the six innings, and he issued just one walk.
Cole's strong start knocks his ERA down to 3.94, and the right hander's record remains at 2-4 after his seventh start for Altoona.
Though Cole was in line for the win when he exited the game, as a solo homer from Oscar Tejeda in the second inning put the Curve ahead, 1-0, but things didn't remain that way for long. Trenton's Zoilo Almonte was the first batter to step to the plate in the seventh inning and hit a solo home run on the first pitch he saw from reliever Hunter Strickland.
Tonight: Altoona at Trenton, 7:05 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Phil Irwin (3-7, 3.16) vs. Thunder RHP Mikey O'Brien (4-4, 4.79)
Things would get worse for the Curve in the seventh inning.
Melky Mesa was the next hitter after Almonte, and he reached on a fielding error by shortstop Brock Holt. After spending the last four games as the Curve's designated hitter because of what manager P.J. Forbes called a sore shoulder, Holt was back in his usual spot on the field, and the error was his 20th of the year.
Mesa reached third on a single from Luke Murton followed by a groundout, and Mesa came scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of J.R. Murphy.
Strickland (2-1) allowed just the one earned run in two innings, but took the loss.
The Curve had a total of six hits, but Tejeda's home run was the only one that did any damage and no other hit went for extra bases.
In the ninth inning, the Curve had a chance to tie the game as Jarek Cunningham walked to lead off the frame and reached second base with one out after a sacrifice bunt from Stefan Welch. However, both Quincy Latimore and Evan Chambers struck out, leaving Cunningham stranded. The Curve were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Kelvin Perez (6-1) pitched two scoreless innings out of Trenton's bullpen to get the win, while Ryan Pope worked around his walk of Cunningham in the ninth inning to earn his first save.
Key player: Trenton RF Zoilo Almonte was 1-for-3 with a solo homer.
Key play: Trenton C J.R. Murphy hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning which put the Thunder up 2-1.
Key stat: RHP Gerrit Cole threw six scoreless innings, it was his best outing so far in Double-A.
How they scored
Top 2nd: Tejeda solo homer (1-0).
Bottom 7th: Almonte solo homer (1-1); Mesa reached on Holt error, scored on Murphy sacrifice fly (1-2).