PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs picked up five runs over the first two innings and held on late for the 8-6 win over the Reading Fightin Phils in the series opener Monday night at Hadlock Field.
Portland’s Mookie Betts began the two-run rally in the first against Phils’ starter Jesse Biddle. The second baseman worked a leadoff walk on four straight pitches and moved to second on a stolen base. The walk extended Betts’ streak to 50 straight regular season games and 55, including the Carolina League Playoffs last year.
Deven Marrero followed with a walk and Travis Shaw hit a sharp grounder to third, which Cesar Hernandez misplayed into left field for an error. Betts scored on the blunder.
Sean Coyle hit an infield single to Carlos Alonso, which he then booted into right; Marrero scored from second on the second error of the inning and Portland took the 2-0 lead.
Biddle (2-3) continued to labor in the second inning and his defense made another error behind him as the Dogs plated three more and made it 5-0. Derrik Gibson had a one-out single and Betts reached again via a walk with two down in front of Marrero. The shortstop singled to right for an RBI and Shaw brought home the pair with a single to left.
Mike McCarthy took the hill for Portland and the five-run lead and cruised through his outing. He began the night with three perfect innings before Alonso broke up the streak with a single to begin the fourth. McCarthy (1-2) settled in and retired the next six in a row.
The top-pitching prospect in the Phillies’ system, Biddle, walked two in the fourth inning, but it was another error that allowed the sixth run to score. Shaw hit a ball up the middle, which shortstop Edgar Duran booted into center and Shannon Wilkerson to scored to make it 6-0 Dogs.
The Fightin Phils tried to rally against the Portland righty and picked up a single with one out and a double with two down off the bat of Brock Stassi. McCarthy wrapped up his night on the mound by inducing a groundout to first off the bat Hernandez.
Portland tacked on two more runs in the sixth to cap off the scoring. With two down, Carlos Rivero plated Betts with a single to right and scored on Stefan Welch’s RBI double to the wall in right.
Kyle Kraus took over for Portland on the mound and Reading took advantage of the fresh arm for three runs in the seventh. Cameron Perkins led off the inning with a single and scored on Chris Serritella’s double to right-center. Three hitters later, Hewitt hit a sacrifice fly to center that Serritella scored on and Alonso capped of the frame with an RBI double to make it 8-3.
Kraus was sent back out for the eighth and Reading pulled one run closer on a solo shot by Serritella.
Kurcz retired the final batter of the eighth and assumed the role of closer in the ninth, but Reading continued to battle. Duran drew a leadoff walk and Alonso doubled to put two on with nobody out. A Kurcz wild pitch brought the lead runner home and a single put another run on the board with one out and made it 8-6. The righty closed out the game with a strikeout to Serritella and induced a 6-4 force out off the bat of Aaron Altherr for the final out of the game.