After a rocky start, Will Roberts did all he could to keep the Aeros in the game, but he was outdueled by his pitching counterpart, and Akron fell to Altoona 3-1.
The first three batters provided the Curve with what could have been enough offense to win the game, but baseball includes a full nine innings.
Mel Rojas Jr. led off the game with an infield single, and Adalberto Santos doubled to the gap in right-center field.
Gregory Polanco then hit one in almost the exact same place, only hit harder, to score both runners.
After Polanco’s double, Roberts retired 19 of the remaining 24 batters he faced, settling into what manager Edwin Rodriguez called his best game of the season.
“I thought it was going to be a long night for us and a short night for him,” Rodriguez said. “But he settled down. He kept us in the game. I have to say that was one of his best games of the season.”
Despite that, Roberts took the loss, and his record fell to 6-7.
He threw seven innings, struck out six and walked none. His two earned runs came on seven hits.
His counterpart, Nick Kingham, outdueled him in terms of preventing runs.
Kingham evened his record at 2-2 after throwing six innings of one-run baseball. He struck out four and walked two, allowing six hits.
“That was the first time we’ve faced him. He has a very good arm,” Rodriguez said. “Fastball at 92-94 [mph] with late movement and he has good command of his secondary pitches.”
Akron’s only run came in the fifth inning by means of Jake Lowery.
Lowery singled to start the inning before advancing to second on a Giovanny Urshela walk.
When Kyle Bellows flew out to center field, Lowery — a catcher — maybe surprisingly tagged up and advanced to third base on a close throw.
Jose Ramirez then hit a single up the middle to score Lowery, bringing the score to 2-1.
The Curve (41-50) struck back with an insurance run after a sloppy eighth inning by the Aeros (44-48).
Right fielder Carlos Moncrief misplayed a line drive by Rojas to lead off the inning, resulting in a triple.
“That ball was so well-hit that it cut like 15 to 20 feet to the left,” Rodriguez said. “Even the pitchers in the bullpen were saying it was crazy. The fastball was about 96-97 [mph] and it was well-hit so you have a lot of movement.”
Polanco later roped a single up the middle to score Rojas before advancing to second on a wild pitch.
Alex Dickerson then reached on an error when third baseman Matt Lawson let the ball slip out of his hands on a pump-fake to second, but reliever Jhonathon Ramos limited the damage by striking out the side.
The Aeros collected eight hits and walked three times, but were only able to produce one run and went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
“We had plenty of chances, but we didn’t get a clutch hit,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s just a matter of getting the timing back. We’ve been swinging the bat well, but you’re going to have these kind of nights like the last two.”
Ramirez led the Aeros at the plate with a single, double and an RBI.
Moncrief singled and tripled, and Urshela reached base three times via two singles and a walk.
Rojas fell a home run short of the cycle for Altoona, going 4-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored.
Zach McAllister will take the mound for the Aeros tonight in a rehab start as he returns from a sprained middle finger.
Pirates top prospect Jameson Taillon will start for the Curve.
First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.