ALTOONA, PA., June 8 – The Hartford Yard Goats are coming close. But they are struggling to get over the finish line.
On Thursday night, the Yard Goats coughed up leads of 2-0, 3-2, 4-3 and 7-4 but still lost in 13 innings to the Erie Seawolves, 8-7. On Friday night, Hartford infielder Brendan Rodgers hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning but the rally fell short as Hartford lost their fourth straight game in an 4-3 Eastern League loss to the Altoona Curve.
For Rodgers, it was his team-leading 12th home run of the season – good enough for fourth in the league.
Altoona Curve starting pitcher Cam Vieaux, allowed just one run over seven innings, and retired the final 15 batters faced, along with seven strikeouts to record the win in his Eastern League debut. Jason Martin cracked a two-run homer and Will Craig added a two-run double for the Curve.
The Curve (29-27) took the lead in the first inning as Jason Martin cranked a two-run home run off Hartford starter Jesus Tinoco. Martin’s eighth home run of the season sailed over the right field fence just out of reach of Yard Goats outfielder Myles Jones.
The Yard Goats (28-33) made it a 2-1 game with a run in the second inning off Vieaux. Brian Mundell led off the frame with a single, and then Nelson Molina ripped a two out hit putting runners at first and second base. Mylz Jones followed with a liner to left scoring Mundell and making it 2-1. Molina was tagged out trying to get from second to third to end the inning.
Altoona added a pair of runs in the third inning on a two-run double by Will Craig to extend their lead to 4-1.
Hartford’s Wes Rodgers started the ninth inning with a leadoff triple against reliever Tate Scioneaux. Rodgers followed with a rocket home run into the left field bleachers, cutting the lead to one run, 4-3. Mundell reached on an infield single with one out. But the Curve retired the final two batters as the Curve held on for the win.
It was a disappointing loss on Thursday and the longest game the Yard Goats have played this year. It’s tough to play long extra inning games since Minor League Baseball mandates that a runner start on second base once you reach the 10th inning. It designed to reduce the strain on pitching staffs by ending extra inning games sooner.
Erie and Hartford each scored a run in the 10th and 12th innings. In the 13th inning, the Yard Goats scored three runs but Erie scored four including a two RBI double from Jacob Robson to win it for the host Seawolves, 8-7.
Mundull had four hits, including a two-run homer in the third inning for Hartford. Robson led Erie with three hits including the game-winning double and 5 RBI.
Hartford took a 7-4 lead in the 13th inning on a RBI double from Mundull, and an RBI double from Ryan Metzler, who scored the third run on a passed ball.
Erie scored four runs and three hits off Hartford reliever Marc Magliaro, who also hit a batter, to win the game.
After two more games in Altoona, the Yard Goats return home to Hartford on Tuesday to begin a six-game homestand against Erie and Binghamton.