Karns Dominates and Bloxom Mashes as Senators Split Doubleheader

Photo courtesy @Terrasha79

Photo courtesy @Terrasha79

G1: Senators 4, Curve 1

Before the Senators had a chance to bat, the Altoona Curve got on the board thanks to back-to-back doubles by Matt Curry and Andrew Lambo. Those were the only two hits Altoona would get all game as starting pitcher Nate Karns dominated the Curve lineup over the last six innings on his way to a complete game 4-1 victory.

For the final six frames, Karns faced only one batter over the minimum as he walked opposing pitcher, Francisco Liriano, to lead off the third inning. The 6’5″ righthander struck out a career high 13 batters going the distance for his first Double-A win.

Offensively the Senators were propelled by a three-run home run off the bat of Randolph Oduber and an RBI single from Justin Bloxom. Catcher Sandy Leon added two hits on the night including a double.

Player of the Game: Nate Karns

G2: Curve 9, Senators 7 (11)

After digging themselves into a 6-1 hole after just 2½ innings, the Senators plated six runs over the next two frames to tie the game up at seven. That’s how the score would remain into extra innings until Charlie Cutler delivered a two-run double over Brian Goodwin’s head to give the Curve a doubleheader split.

Justin Bloxom was a one-man wrecking crew to get Harrisburg back into the game as as he drove in five runs with a pair of doubles. The big blow to the Senators chances came when they were unable to score after loading the bases in the ninth inning with no one out. Randolph Oduber struck out badly on three pitches and Ricky Hague lined one back to the pitcher who easily doubled Jose Lozada off of third base.

Harrisburg’s sixth pitcher of the game, Marcos Frias, collared the loss as a leadoff single and infield error would come back to bite the reliever.

Player of the Game: Justin Bloxom

From the Windup

• Shortly before game time, Anthony Rendon was scratched from the original lineup. Speculation turned into reality a short time later as Rendon was called up to the Nationals to take the place of Ryan Zimmerman as the All-Star third baseman went on the DL. “He deserves this chance,” manager Matt LeCroy said after the game, “His teammates were happy for him. It just goes to show you that if you play here, you’re really one step away…I told him ‘Go help them win a championship’ and that’s what it’s about.”

• After beginning the season with nine scoreless innings in three appearances, Trevor Holder finally allowed a run (albeit an unearned one) in one inning of relief.

• Karns’ 13 strikeouts was the most by a Senator since Brad Peacock struck out 14 on May 13, 2011.

• When Francisco Liriano received a September callup during the 2005 season, one of his teammates was current Senators manager Matt LeCroy. In fact, LeCroy went 3 for 4 with a home run to help Liriano garner his first MLB victory. “I hope he can get back to what he was. He’s a tremendous teammate and competitor,” LeCroy reminisced about the southpaw, “I’ve seen him at the top of his game and he’s pretty special.”

• Does Liriano realize the Pirates play in the National League? After spending his entire career in the American League, Liriano wanted to have nothing to do with hitting. He was dancing out of the batter’s box on every pitch like he was Marla Hooch in “A League of Their Own”.

• A couple of 2013 debuts were made in Game 2 as catcher Kris Watts went 2 for 3 with a double and Michael Broadway brought mid-90s heat as he pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

• Former Yankee, White Sox, and Phillie pitcher Jose Contreras also made a rehab appearance for the Curve as he threw one spotless inning in the first game of the doubleheader.

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