Altoona, PA (WBNG Binghamton) Rafael Montero allowed just two singles over seven shutout innings to lead the Binghamton Mets past the Altoona Curve, 9-3, Saturday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. The Dominican right-hander struck out six and faced just three over the minimum while extending his scoreless streak to 23-2/3 innings. Cesar Puello drove in four runs and Travis Taijeron finished a triple shy of a cycle in his Double-A debut.
Curve third baseman Adalberto Santos opened the door for the B-Mets with two consecutive throwing errors in the second. With one out, Richard Lucas reached second base when Santos fired an errant throw to first on a ground ball. Lucas scored one batter later when Santos repeated the gaffe on a grounder put in play by Blake Forsythe. Wilfredo Tovar doubled Binghamton’s lead by punching an RBI single over Gift Ngoepe’s head at short.
Given a two-run lead, Montero faced his only major challenge in the second. Santos reached on a fielding error at second by Danny Muno and Carlos Paulino laced a single to right to put runners on first and second. Montero responded by retiring the next two hitters to end the threat.
The B-Mets added to their lead in the third against starter Casey Sadler. Taijeron, promoted from the St. Lucie Mets (High-A) prior to the game, started the inning by pulling a double down the left field line. Puello brought him home, and gave the B-Mets a three-run lead, by ripping a single past Santos at third.
Montero shifted to cruise control after the second inning. The right-handed retired 16 of the final 18 batters he faced and never allowed a runner past first base in his final five innings.
Sadler capped his night with three scoreless innings, but the B-Mets offense put their foot back on the gas pedal offensively against the Curve bullpen. Taijeron highlighted his stellar debut with a two-run homer off Luis Sanz and Lucas added a sac fly in a three-run seventh inning. Puello blasted a three-run homer over the batter’s eye off Nate Baker in the ninth. It was his sixth round-tripper in the month of June.
Ryan Fraser posted a perfect eighth inning before allowing three runs (one earned) in the ninth.
Montero (7-3) walked only one in his fourth shutout performance of at least six innings this season. Sadler (6-4) was tagged for three runs (one earned) on five hits in the losing effort.
The B-Mets (37-25) look for their second series sweep of the season on Sunday night at 6:00 PM when they conclude their three-game set against the Curve (25-36). RHP Jacob deGrom gets the nod for Binghamton against RHP Jameson Taillon.
POSTGAME NOTES: Montero has posted a 1.39 ERA in his last five starts…Puello is hitting .600 (15-for-25) in six games in June with three doubles, six home runs and 15 RBIs…the B-Mets are 12 games over .500 for the first time since September 2004