READING, Pa. — The Reading Fightin Phils (2-2) stymied the comeback of the Portland Sea Dogs (2-2), for the second game in a row, and won 4-3, Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The loss for the Dogs marks the second in a row and forces a split of the four game series.
For the first time in the young season, the Phils jumped out to a lead, thanks to a four-run second inning against Portland’s Mike Augliera. Brock Stassi, Matt Tolbert, and Chris Serritella began the frame with three straight singles, the last of which produced the first run of the game.
Following a sacrifice bunt from Edgar Duran, leadoff man and second baseman Carlos Alonso drove a three-run shot to left that increased the home team’s lead to 4-0.
The Dogs began the comeback in the following frame as Bo Greenwell reached via a passed ball on a third strike and was moved to second on a throwing error by the pitcher Perci Garner. With two outs, Deven Marrero picked up the RBI with an infield single and pulled Portland to within three at 4-1.
Garner (1-0) showed solid command of the zone, but was touched up for two more runs over his final three innings.
In the fourth, Henry Ramos singled and moved into scoring position courtesy of a passed ball. Matt Spring was next and doubled home Ramos in his second at-bat of the season. Two innings later it was again Spring (1-3, 2RBI) that drove home a run and bought Portland to within one, at 4-3, with a sacrifice fly.
The bullpen then took over for Reading and shut the door. For the second night in a row, Jay Johnson worked the eighth in scoreless fashion and Ken Giles was called upon for the ninth.
Giles struck out the side in order, with his final pitch clocked as 101 mph, and earned his second save in as many games.
On Saturday, Cam Perkins led off the seventh inning with a double to left off of lefty Nate Reed and came around to score on an RBI single by Kelly Dugan to give Reading a 3-2 victory.
Reading (1-2) continued to put baserunners on against Reed (0-1) and loaded the bases with one out, but the southpaw battled back to strikeout Anthony Hewitt and induced a groundout off the bat of Edgar Duran to stem the tide and keep it one-run game.
With the lead, Reading was able to dial up the bullpen and brought on Jay Johnson for the eighth and Ken Giles for the ninth. Johnson earned a hold and mowed the Sea Dogs down in order in his frame, but it was Giles that slammed the door in the ninth.
Blake Swihart led off the inning with a bloop single, but Giles bounced back to strike out the side, topping out his fastball at 99 mph by the bat of Mookie Betts for the final out of the game.
For the third game in a row, the Sea Dogs jumped out to an early lead. Betts led off the game with a double to left and was driven home two batters later on an infield single by Travis Shaw (2-3, RBI).
The Sea Dogs doubled up the lead in the second against Reading’s Hoby Milner. Swihart (2-4, 2B,) began the inning with a two-bagger to center and moved to third on a single by Sean Coyle. Stefan Welch was next and drove home the catcher with a sacrifice fly to right.
The two-run lead would be short-lived as in the bottom of the second the Fightin Phils with a two-run double by Duran.
Pena lasted just three innings in his season debut. The lefty gave up the two runs, both earned, on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts.Milner worked five innings and allowed the two earned runs on six hits, three walks and three strikeouts.
The Sea Dogs home opener is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Hadlock Field against the New Britain Rock Cats.