The RubberDucks’ longest losing streak this season is three games. On Tuesday, the Ducks wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again.
Playing the Altoona Curve, who sit in second place in the Eastern League’s Western Division, the RubberDucks looked a little more dialed in during an 11-4 win.
Whether it was a little revenge for losing on a walk-off to the Curve (28-22) last week or just wanting to get back on track, the Ducks (36-15) ran a little harder, pushed the envelope on the base paths and played strong defense to snap their skid.
“A lot of that is dictated by the pitcher and the catcher and the opportunities that are presented there,” Ducks manager Dave Wallace said.
“In particular tonight, [David] Whitehead was a little slow to the plate. We had the right guys getting on and he was giving us opportunities to take some bags. That’s what I want to see. When the opportunity is there, we take it. I don’t want to see us sitting back on our heels and missing opportunities. I want to see us err on the side of aggression.”
Last Thursday, the RubberDucks took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning and completely fell apart against the Curve. Fast forward to Tuesday, and there wasn’t much doubt the Ducks were going to come home a winner.
Jordan Smith, Joe Sever and Todd Hankins all doubled in the second inning to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead and Smith followed with a no-doubt-about-it home run to right the next inning.
Every starter had at least one hit, and the RubberDucks trotted nine to the plate in the seventh and eight in both the second and fourth innings.
Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller graduate Whitehead (2-5) lasted only 3? innings, giving up six runs — all earned — on six hits. He finished with three strikeouts and two walks.
“It’s great to go out in that first game and just take it to them and set the tone for the series,” Smith said. “It’s very important to take that first one. They’re always our rival because they’re so close. It seems like we play them every single game. It’s nice to get a big win and build off of that.”
Shawn Morimando (9-0), who was in line for the win in the aforementioned game last week, picked up the victory Tuesday. A left-hander, he kept his Eastern League lead in wins and earned run average (1.64).
He went six innings and gave up two runs — one earned — on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. In four of his past five outings, Morimando has had one walk or less.
“The offense was awesome to see,” Morimando said. “The offense put up a lot of hits, a lot of runs. For me as a pitcher, my command was shaky, so seeing the offense come around putting up hits and runs, I knew I just had to battle to keep them in the game. Overall, it’s a team effort. I’m going to have good and bad, I just need to keep fighting through.”
Game 2 of the three-game series will be Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. Michael Peoples (5-1, 3.17) is the scheduled pitcher for the RubberDucks and Cody Dickson (3-2, 4.40) is scheduled to pitch for the Curve.