PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs were stymied most of the afternoon, but plated a pair of runs in the eighth and took down the Reading Fightin Phils 2-1 in front of a sellout crowd of 7,368 Wednesday afternoon at Hadlock Field.
Portland (71-41) trailed 1-0, but turned it around in the eighth inning against the Reading (45-64) bullpen.
David Chester singled with one out, but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Stefan Welch off of left-hander Austin Wright (2-1). Jonathan Roof was next and singled through the hole on the left side, and put two on with two out for Heiker Meneses.
Dusty Wathan dipped into the bullpen one more time and called upon Colton Murray to end the threat.
Meneses came into Wednesday’s game hitting .185, but had reached two of three times on the day before the eighth. The shortstop ripped a line drive into the left-field corner for a double, on which Welch and Roof both scored and gave Portland the 2-1 lead.
Noe Ramirez took the mound in the ninth and retired the side in order, picking up his second win.
Left-hander Brian Johnson started for Portland in his 16th start and was tagged for a run in the first by the Fightins. He walked the leadoff man, Albert Cartwright, who then stole second and scored on Kelly Dugan’s RBI single two batters later.
From there, Johnson put it in cruise control and retired the next 13 men in a row. Edgar Duran broke up the stretch with a walk in the sixth, but the lefty went through the next six hitters with no issue.
On the other side, it was former big leaguer Adam Loewen that kept the Sea Dogs off the board. Portland wasn’t without its chances as out of the gate it loaded the bases with two down, but could not score.
The Sea Dogs had at least one base runner in over the first four innings, but were kept scoreless. Loewen retired the side in order in the fifth, but gave up back-to-back singles to open the sixth.
Welch’s sacrifice bunt pushed the two runners into scoring position, but a strikeout and fielder’s choice ended the threat; as Portland left the bases loaded for the second time.
Brock Stassi led off the eighth with a walk and Sebastian Valle hit a sacrifice bunt, which Johnson fielded and tossed to first for the final out of his outing. Ramirez (2-0) came out of the bullpen and retired the first two men he faced to close out the frame.
Johnson, Ramirez, and the Sea Dogs defense combined to one-hit the Fightin Phils, marking the first time since Aug. 8, 2009 that Reading had been held to just one hit.