READING, Pa. — The Portland Sea Dogs used a three-run sixth inning to defeat the Reading Fightin Phils 4-1 Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Sea Dogs improve to 2-0 on the young season.
Portland’s Blake Swihart broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with a line drive single to center field off reliever Ryan O’Sullivan to plate Deven Marrero. Sean Coyle added a RBI single scoring Carlos Rivero and Henry Ramos scooted home on a throwing error by second baseman Albert Cartwright.
Keith Couch (1-0) tossed 5 ⅔ innings allowing one unearned run on six hits to earn the win. Couch struck out six and walked a batter. He retired the final nine batters he faced. Last season Couch led the Sea Dogs in wins with 11.
Coyle (2-for-4, 2 RBI) gave the Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead in the second inning when he smacked his first Double-A home run off Severino Gonzalez.
Reading tied the game in the bottom of the third when Couch issued a one out walk to Zach Collier. After a double by Cam Perkins, Kelly Dugan singled and Collier scored on a throwing error by Sea Dogs left fielder Bo Greenwell.
Noe Ramirez relieved Couch and fired 1 ⅓ innings allowing one hit and striking out two. Miguel Celestino pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts. While Jose Valdez closed out the game with a perfect ninth to earn his first save in the Red Sox organization.
O’Sullivan (0-1) is charged with the loss for Reading allowing three runs on three hits and two walks in one inning of work.
Rookie Betts, the Red Sox 2013 Minor League Offensive Player of the Year, continued his hot start going 3-for-5 with two doubles. He is now 7-for-9 (.778) on the season.
Sea Dogs catcher Blake Swihart threw out the first two base runners attempting to steal this season.
Game three of the four-game set is Saturday at 6:05 p.m.
The Sea Dogs’ home opener is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Hadlock Field against the New Britain Rock Cats.