Altoona Curve Win First Ever Eastern League Championship

Sunday, September 19, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Altoona Curve clinched its first Eastern League Championship in its 12-year existence with a, 5-2, win over the Trenton Thunder on Saturday night at Waterfront Park. Tony Watson (2-0) notched the win while Jim Negrych went 3-for-5 with three RBI.

Like they have throughout the entire playoff run, Altoona responded when Trenton gained a, 1-0, lead in the third inning on a two-out, RBI single by Daniel Brewer. Matt Hague started the fourth inning with a walk and then Andrew Lambo reached on an error by Thunder first baseman Marcos Vechionacci to put two on with no one out against 19-year-old starter Manny Banuelos (1-1).

He struck out Hector Gimenez for the first out but then Negrych hit a ball back off of the neck of Banuelos that ricocheted past Luis Nunez at short and into left field. Both Hague and Lambo came home on the play and Altoona had a lead it would not surrender.

They added to it in the fifth when Josh Harrison led off the frame with a single and then came around to score on a Hague RBI single to right. With one on and two away, Banuelos intentionally walked Hector Gimenez to pitch to Negrych and he proceeded to dump a double into left field that brought Hague around for the Curve's fourth run. After 4.5 innings, Altoona led 4-1.

Watson tossed six innings of two-run ball and gave up his second run of the game in the seventh when Damon Sublett homered to right-center to cut the lead to two. He would be the last batter that Watson would face in the game. The Sioux City, Iowa native set a career high with 10 strikeouts over his 6+ innings of work.

The Curve got the run right back in the top of the eighth off reliever Cory Arbiso when Chase d'Arnaud delivered a one-out RBI single through the right side to make it, 5-2.

Moskos pitched the ninth and struck out second baseman Matt Cusick for the game's final out. Jared Hughes bridged the gap between Watson and Moskos with two more scoreless innings of relief. He pitched 8.1 innings during the playoffs in 2010 and did not allow a run.

Justin Wilson was named the Eastern League Playoff MVP for his two Game 3 starts during the E.L. playoffs. He went 2-0 in the playoffs and tossed 13 scoreless innings in two starts.


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