READING, Pa. — The Portland Sea Dogs improved to a season-high 25 games over .500, defeating the Reading Fightin Phils, 12-2 on Friday night at First Energy Stadium.
Reading (33-43) committed a season-high six errors and walked 13 batters. Derrik Gibson and Blake Swihart each reached base five times for the Sea Dogs (52-27).
Left-hander Brian Johnson (7-1) earned his fourth straight win, working five innings on five hits, four walks and seven strikeouts. Johnson held Reading 1-for-8 with runners-in-scoring position.
Right-hander Perci Garner (4-5) walked a career-high 8 batters, taking his first loss of the season to Portland. Garner was lifted after 3.1 innings, giving up six runs on four hits.
The Sea Dogs are 25 games over .500 for the first time since 1996 when they finished the season at 83-58.
The top five batters in Portland’s lineup drew the 13 walks (season-high). Gibson (2 walks), Deven Marrero (2 walks), Swihart (4 walks), Sean Coyle (3 walks) and Stefan Welch (2 walks) each had multi-walk performances.
For the second straight night, the Sea Dogs scored in their first turn. Garner helped out Portland by loading the bases on three walks. Welch knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Keury De La Cruz (4-for-6, 3 RBI) added a run-scoring single.
Reading chipped away in the first inning off Johnson. Albert Cartwright led off with a walk and scored on a two-out double by Jake Fox.
The walks continued for Garner in the third, walking Coyle and Welch to start the inning. De La Cruz added his second RBI single, and Peter Hissey (3-for-6, RBI) laced a run-scoring single to left, extending the Sea Dogs lead to 4-1.
Johnson escaped a huge jam in the third, fanning Aaron Altherr with the bases-loaded and two outs.
In the fourth, the Sea Dogs scored four times, taking advantage of three Reading errors. In addition to the errors, a passed ball and two wild pitches aided in the runs. Portland scored an unearned run in the fifth inning and Gibson drove in the 10th run with a run-scoring double in the sixth. Coyle delivered a two-run single in the ninth off former Red Sox farmhand Nefi Ogando.
Righty Michael Olmsted relieved Johnson and pitched three strong innings. The lone run allowed was a solo-homer by Brock Stassi in the sixth. Robby Scott closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.