PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs fell for the second straight time to the Reading Fightin Phils 5-2 Wednesday night at Hadlock Field. The loss marks the second in a row, but just the seventh in 21 games against the Fightin Phils this season.
The Phils (61-76) exploded for four runs in the second inning and took an early lead against Keith Couch and the Sea Dogs (85-52). Jake Fox hit a solo homer down the line in left and over the Maine Monster, putting the visitors on the board, 1-0.
Couch (8-2) failed to settle in after the homer and gave up a pair of singles to the following hitters. Brock Stassi connected for the second single, which was booted in right by Kevin Heller, allowing Aaron Altherr to score from first. The righty got the next two outs with ease, but Logan Moore capped off the inning with a two-run blast into the Portland bullpen and Reading held the 4-0 lead.
Adam Loewen kept the Sea Dogs offense at bay over the first few innings. He retired six out of the first seven men he faced and got through the third before running into trouble in the fourth.
A walk, a single, and another walk loaded the bases for the Dogs with two down in the fourth. Heiker Meneses stepped in, but Loewen (3-5) battled back and induced a 6-3 groundout to end the threat.
Portland again had the bases loaded with nobody out in the fifth inning. Sean Coyle struck out and David Chester put the Sea Dogs on the board with an RBI fielder’s choice, but that would be it. Mike Brenly tallied another Portland run in the next inning with an RBI groundout.
Couch went back to the mound for the seventh and retired the first two, but gave up a single and a run-scoring double to finish his night, putting Reading in front 5-2. Aaron Kurcz took over, got out of the seventh and pitched a perfect eighth to stem the tide. Robby Scott pitched a scoreless ninth.
Portland had no answer for the Reading bullpen and went quietly over the final four innings; two against Mike Nesseth and two against former Sox farmhand Nefi Ogando, who locked down his seventh save.
Couch took the loss, but went 6 2/3 innings, allowing the five runs on eight hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. Loewen earned the win going five-plus, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked six and struck out three.