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Bryan Bullington pitches Altoona past Reading

READING, PA)- Bryan Bullington allowed just one run on four hits over a season-high seven innings and Kevin Nicholson\’s two-run homer highlighted a three-run sixth inning as the Altoona Curve opened its three-game series at Reading with a 3-1 win Monday night.
Bullington (6-3) retired the first 10 men he faced and pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season to pick up his sixth win. Dave Lundquist and Jeff Miller closed the door in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Lundquist struck out back-to-back hitters in the eighth with two runners in scoring position, while Miller tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up his fourth save in the last five days.
The Curve got all the offense it would need in the top of the sixth against Reading starter Robinson Tejeda (5-7). With one out and a runner at third, Josh Bonifay lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored Chris Duffy just ahead of the strong throw from center-fielder Ryan Fleming to give Altoona a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Kevin Nicholson, belted a fastball over the right-field wall for a two-run homer that gave the Curve a 3-0 lead. The blast was Nicholson\’s third of the season.
Reading got one run back in the bottom of the sixth on Ryan Howard\’s RBI single to right that made the score 3-1. However, Kevin Barker over-ran the third base bag and was thrown out trying to scramble back to the bag for the final out of the frame. Howard, the Eastern League\’s leader in home runs (28) and RBI (77) went 2-for-4 to lead the Reading offense.
Six different players recorded the Curve\’s six hits.
With the win, Altoona (47-30) extends its lead in the Eastern League\’s Southern Division to five games over second-place Erie, which lost 5-4 in 10 innings at Harrisburg Monday night. Reading, which had won eight of its last 10 games entering Monday, drops to 36-40 on the season.
The second game of the three-game set will be played Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Curve will send left-hander Brady Borner (4-3, 5.34) to the mound to oppose Reading right-hander Eude Brito (3-2, 4.60).