Big inning sinks Curve against Binghamton Mets

For the third time in four games, an Altoona Curve starter got into a jam he couldn’t get out of until plenty of damage was done.
Monday, it was lefty John Grabow who allowed six out of the first seven Binghamton Mets batters to reach in a four-run third inning. The big frame propelled the Mets to a 6-1 triumph over the Curve in front of a Binghamton franchise-record 6,953 fans at NYSEG Stadium.
B-Mets’ pitcher Jeremy Griffiths got the inning going with a single to left. A one-out balk by Grabow and an RBI single by Prentice Redman gave Binghamton its first run. Virgil Chevalier walked to set the table for slugger Aaron McNeal.
The right-handed hitter didn’t disappoint the huge home audience ripping a three-run homer to right center for a 4-0 Binghamton edge. McNeal’s blast was his 19th of the season to tie him for the Eastern League lead with Andy Phillips of Norwich.
Back-to-back singles by Rodney Nye and Jason Bay followed before Grabow (4-9) finally settled down to get the final two outs of the inning.
Grabow, who is now 2-6 with nine-plus ERA on the road, wound up allowing five runs on nine hits over four innings in taking the loss.
Trailing 5-0, the Curve got its only run of the game on a solo home run by Dan Meier in the seventh. Meier’s sixth round-tripper of the season was the only blemish against Griffiths (4-3).
The B-Mets’ right-hander worked seven innings on a yield of seven hits in garnering the win. Griffiths did not walk a batter and fanned seven.
Two Curve players extended lengthy hitting streaks in defeat. Tony Alvarez (13 games) and Kevin Sefcik (10 games) each singled in the first inning to continue their success at the plate.
Game two of the series at NYSEG Stadium is Tuesday at 7 p.m. Curve right-hander Ben Shaffar (6-6, 3.31) will go up against Major League right-hander Steve Trachsel (6-7, 3.87 with the New York Mets), who is on a rehabilitation assignment with Binghamton.