Squirrels take opener against Curve

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Flying Squirrels (9-10) got five runs off right-hander Jameson Taillon early, and then used a five-run eighth inning to defeat the Altoona Curve (8-10), 10-6, at The Diamond on Monday night.  The win is the third consecutive for the Squirrels, as they get back within a game of .500 after a difficult 1-6 road trip.

Both teams got the bats out early as the Curve opened the scoring in the top of the first inning against Richmond lefty Chris Gloor.  Altoona strung together four consecutive hits to start the ballgame.  Drew Maggi singled to left field, Gift Ngoepe laid down a bunt-single, Matt Curry singled to right field and Andrew Lambo gave Altoona the lead with a soft-single to left field.  A batter later, Carlos Paulino made it 2-0 with a sharp-single past Squirrels' shortstop Ehire Adrianza.

The Squirrels picked up Gloor quickly, as they came out swinging against the highly-tout Jameson Taillon.  Taillon, who conceded just two hits over seven scoreless innings to Richmond in his previous start, permitted a single to Adrianza to start the first inning.  Joe Panik then punched a single the opposite way to put two aboard.  Javier Herrera got the Squirrels on the board when he followed with a double to left-center field.  A Ricky Oropesa sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout from Mark Minicozzi then gave the Squirrels a 3-2 lead after an adventurous first frame.

The Curve got back to Gloor in the fourth inning to reclaim the lead.  Paulino started the inning with a single, which Alex Dickerson followed with a double.  The Squirrels then intentionally walked Kelson Brown to load the bases and get to Taillon at the bottom of the order.  Gloor struck out Taillon, but Maggi sent a sacrifice fly to center field.  Gloor then hit Ngoepe and Curry delivered a two-run single to put Altoona ahead, 5-3.

The lead for Altoona was short-lived as Richmond plated a pair off Taillon in the bottom of the fourth.  The rally was sparked when Taillon hit Minicozzi to open the frame.  An out later, Andrew Susac walked to put two aboard.  Ryan Lollis then delivered an RBI single to make it a one-run ballgame.  Adrianza tied the score, 5-5, with his second single of the night off of Taillon.

Gloor departed to a no-decision after four innings.  He permitted five earned runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out three.

Altoona snatched the lead again in a hurry following Gloor's removal.  Right-hander Fabio Castillo entered for the fifth inning and surrendered a long home run to right-center field to the first batter that he faced, Mel Rojas Jr.

The ballgame remained in favor of the Curve all the way into the eighth inning, as Taillon left to a no-decision after six innings.  Lefty Nate Baker followed him and worked a scoreless seventh inning.  However, a one-out walk to Jarrett Parker in the eighth inning led to disaster for the Curve.  Baker also walked Andrew Susac to put two aboard, and Altoona went back to the bullpen for right-hander Kenn Kasparek.  Pinch-hitter Travious Relaford collected an infield-single in his first Double-A at-bat to load the bases.  Kasparek then came unglued, issuing back-to-back walks to Adrianza and Panik to bring in the tying and go-ahead runs.  Kasparek also hit Herrera to bring in another run.  Oropesa put the game away, pulling a two-run single into right field to cap the scoring for the evening.

Phil McCormick (1-0) earned the win for the Squirrels in relief, working two scoreless frames.  The win was the first at the Double-A level for McCormick.  Baker (0-1) took the loss for the Curve, his first decision of the season.  Right-hander Edwin Quirarte came on and worked a scoreless ninth inning.  He was not credited with a save however, as the Squirrels led by four runs after the eighth inning.

Game two of the series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday night at The Diamond.  Richmond right-hander Justin Fitzgerald (1-0, 1.93) will make the start against RHP Charlie Morton (0-0,---), who will make an MLB rehab start for the Curve.

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