In the fourth inning, Matt Curry had a ball go about 10 feet off his bat. In the fifth inning, Curry hit a ball about 400 feet.
Though there was a vast difference in distance, both of the balls Curry put in play contributed significantly in the Curve's 9-4 win over Bowie on Wednesday before a crowd of 6,390 at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
With runners on first and second base and no outs, Curry laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners in what turned out to be a six-run fourth inning. In the very next frame, Curry again stepped to the plate with two runners aboard and no outs, but this time Curve manager P.J. Forbes told Curry to swing away
And he got his money's worth.
Curry came close to drilling the roller coaster which sits beyond the fence in right field as he blasted a 1-1 pitch for his 10th homer of the year. Ramon Cabrera and Adalaberto Santos - who both singled to begin the fifth inning - scored on the homer.
"[Forbes] told me 'Way to get the bunt down, you set up that whole fourth inning, we scored all those runs because of you' " Curry said. "So when I walking up there, I was thinking he was going to let me swing away because I got it done earlier and we have the lead now. He didn't put it on, he just told me to swing away, and I got a good pitch and hammered it."
The three runs Curry drove in were the only runs the Curve scored outside of the fourth inning, but they wouldn't need anything else.
Bowie starter Rick Zagone (3-3) was perfect through the first three innings, but things quickly unraveled for the southpaw in the fourth. The inning started with Drew Maggi hitting a triple on a ball that was misplayed by Baysox left fielder Josh Barfield, and the hits just kept coming after that.
Cabrera singled to bring home Maggi, and Santos also had a hit before Curry's sacrifice bunt set the stage for the rest of the inning. In addition to Cabrera, Oscar Tejeda, Quincy Latimore and Kelson Brown all had RBI hits in the frame and the Curve sent a total of 10 batters to the plate.
"They always say hitting is contagious," Latimore said. "So when it's going like that, everyone wants to get up. Get a hit and pass it on, have a good at-bat and pass it on. You definitely want to get up in innings like that."
Juan Cruz made his second major league rehab start of the week for the Curve, and it went much smoother than his first.
Cruz - who is 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 37 games out of the Pirates' bullpen this season - pitched a scoreless first inning and allowed one hit and had one strikeout on 13 pitches (10 strikes). Cruz also pitched for the Curve on Monday against Bowie and gave up two runs on four hits in 1/3 of an inning.
Forbes said he didn't know Cruz was starting for the Curve until Thursday morning and is unsure if the 33-year-old will pitch for the Curve again during his rehab. Kris Johnson (1-1) allowed three runs on five hits in five innings in relief of Cruz and got the win.
Thursday's victory was the second in a row for the Curve, who snapped an eight-game losing streak Wednesday. Latimore said collecting a second straight win was vital.
"Lose eight and win one, then lose again, it really would've put a damper on what we did [Wednesday]," Latimore said. "But it's good we came out, attacked early, pitched good and played good D. We had those big innings when we needed them, and hopefully we keep moving forward and reverse this streak that we had and start a new one in winning."
With the win, the Curve inch closer to the second-place Baysox in the standings and now sit four games behind them and a playoff spot.
Key player: Matt Curry was 1-for-2 with three RBIs.
Key play: Curry's three-run homer in the fifth inning put the Curve up 9-3.
Key stat: The six runs the Curve scored in the fourth inning match the most runs in an inning they've scored this season.
How they scored
Top 4th: Joseph singled, scored on Wheeler triple (0-1); Welty singled scored Wheeler (0-2).
Bottom 4th: Maggi tripled, scored on Cabrera single (1-2); Santos singled, scored along with Cabrera on Tejeda double (3-2); Latimore single scores Tejeda (4-2); Chambers walked, scored along with Latimore on Brown double (6-2).
Top 5th: Schoop walked, scored on Kelly double (6-3).
Bottom 5th: Cabrera singled, Santos singled, both scored on Curry three-run homer (9-3).
Top 7th: Barfield singled, scored on Schoop double (9-4).