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Power barrage gives Curve 2-1 series win over EL defending champion Fisher Cats

The Altoona Curve took the weekend series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats two-to-one with a 7-2 victory at Blair County Ballpark on Sunday afternoon. In a battle between the two 2004 division champs, Altoona, who are averaging over five runs per ballgame continued their potent offense by smashing seven extra-base hits-three home runs, three doubles and a triple-good for seven runs. Tom Gorzelanny combined another super pitching performance and Shane Youman tossed three innings of relief to pick up his first save of the year.
In somewhat of an oddity, the Curve had only seven base hits, no singles, just seven extra-base knocks in the victory.
With Gorzelanny, who was on a pitch count because of missing the first month of the season due to arm problems, nearing perfection, the offense gave the Altoona left-hander all the offense he would need early.
A pair of two-run home runs in the first three innings decided this one early. First a two-run smash by Ray Sadler, back with the Curve after a short stint up in the bigtime with the Pirates, gave the Curve a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Then another two-run shot, by Josh Bonifay an inning later, doubled the advantage to 4-0.
Jorge Cortes lashed a triple into the right field corner prior to Sadler’s second homer with Altoona and Vic Buttler reached base on an error and scored on Bonifay’s clout.
Altoona scored three more times in the sixth to put the game out of reach. Bonifay, who tied Ronnie Paulino for team lead for those presently with the club, belted his second homer of the game, and sixth dinger of the season, with one out and no one on base. Paulino drew a base on balls and Cortes wrapped his second double of the game to score Paulino, before another two-bagger by Sadler brought home Cortes.
Gorzelanny (2-0) pitched six full innings, before giving way to Youman, giving up no runs on just two harmless singles, with five strikeouts and no walks to pick up his second straight victory. With the triumph, Gorzelanny lowers his ERA to 1.00 with 17 strikeouts and three walks.
Youman went the final three innings for his first save. The left-handed reliever pitched his first two and 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, before the Fisher Cats designated hitter Kevin Barker blasted a two-out, ninth-inning home run to break up the shutout. New Hampshire scored their second run on a double by Maikel Jova, and a single by Raul Tablado. Over the first eight and 2/3 innings, a first inning single by Carlo Cota and second inning single by Tablado were the only base hits for the visitors.
With New Hampshire, the Blue Jays AA franchise, in the North Division and the Curve in the South, the two teams meet for only two series each year, one in Altoona and one in Manchester, New Hampshire. In 2004, the Curve won only one game of three in Altoona, while the Fisher Cats won just one of three in Manchester. In the championship series, the Fisher Cats won a pair of 5-4 wins at Altoona and then completed the sweep with a 2-0 win in New Hampshire to capture the Eastern League title.
Curve Notes: Former Curve pitcher Ian Snell, who spent all of 2004 in Altoona, tossed a no-hitter for the AAA Indianapolis Indians on Sunday. Snell struckout nine and allowed just one walk in nine-inning no-hit, no-run victory over Norfolk. Snell improves his record to a perfect 6-0 with the no-no….Cortes was thrown out after his first double leading off the fourth inning, trying to stretch it into another triple….The Curve is first in hitting in the EL (.278) and last in ERA (4.59)….Altoona finished their six-game homestand with a 5-1 record and now goes on the road for a week. The Curve will play three games at Bowie (Orioles) Monday through Wednesday and then after a day off, will play their only series of the year at Binghamton against the Mets’ AA franchise Friday through Sunday,, before returning home on Monday, May 23 to begin an eight-game homestand with four games against Norwich….After an hour and forty-two minute rain delay, Landon Jacobsen and two relievers, pitched six scoreless innings and Vic Buttler ripped an RBI triple in the bottom of the seventh to give the Curve a 3-2 win on Saturday night.