(Reading, Pa.)---The Reading Phillies (60-53) spilt a doubleheader with the Binghamton Mets (54-59) Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium, dropping Game One, 7-2, and taking Game Two, 3-1.
With the split, Reading has now compiled a 10-2 record in six twin-bills this season, generating a .833 winning percentage in such games. The R-Phils now trail the second-place New Britain Rock Cats by one game in the Eastern Division wild card standings after the Rock Cats put away the Altoona Curve, 8-3.
After a scoreless inning for both squads in the first inning of Game One, Binghamton loaded the bases on Reading starter Julio Rodriguez after Jefry Marte singled, Dustin Martin walked, and Francisco Pena was hit by a pitch. Wilfredo Tovar drove in the B-Mets' first run of the evening when he hit an RBI single to right field. Binghamton added another run in the next at-bat when pitcher Greg Peavey grounded into a force out that plated Martin.
The R-Phils rallied back in bottom half of the second after Leandro Castro ripped a double to the left field corner. Castro scored on the next play when right fielder Brandon Tripp singled. Reading knocked in its third straight hit of the inning when Steve Lerud recorded the first of his three hits of the game. In the next at-bat with Troy Hanzawa at the dish, shortstop Tovar attempted to turn a double play on Hanzawa's well-hit ball to the infield, but made an errant throw towards first causing Tripp to score and tie the game.
The two teams failed to score any runs in the next two frames until the fifth inning when Rodriguez was tagged for five runs by Binghamton hitters. The Futures Game selection's rough inning included three consecutive run-scoring doubles and a two-run home run from Martin. Following the inning, Rodriguez was substituted by pinch-hitter Tim Kennelly. Through five innings pitched, he gave up seven earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six to take the loss in his worst Double-A outing this season.
Reliever Colby Shreve pitched the final two innings of Game One and held Binghamton hitters to zero runs. He also struck out two batters.
Offensively, Lerud led the R-Phils by going 3-for-3 with a double and two singles.
Reading's Jordan Whatcott and Binghamton's Armando Rodriguez, both relievers making spot starts, were locked in a pitcher's duel for roughly in Game Two until the R-Phils' Darin Ruf did what he has done so well this season and hit a two-out home run in the third inning. Ruf's third home run in two days was his 21st of the season, one shy of Eastern League-leader Luke Murton of Trenton. The home run also was Reading's first of the night. He finished the night by going 2-for-2 with a walk.
In the next frame, left fielder D'Arby Myers powered his third home run of the season, tying a career-high set with Clearwater (A+) in 2010. Myers accomplished the feat in just 32 games played with the R-Phils, while it took him 66 games to do it with the Threshers. Myers added a single in the sixth inning.
Starting pitcher Whatcott mowed through the first three innings of Game Two by striking out three batters and holding the B-Mets scoreless. Whatcott did not allow a run for the first time since his first career start on June 13. Typically a reliever, Whatcott is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA over seven starts. The Eastern League All-Star is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA and two saves in 23 relief appearances.
RHP Kyle Simon received his first winning decision as a member of the Reading Phillies roster. Through three innings, the reliever struck out two while giving up his first earned run in three overall appearances with the team. He also walked two.
Tyler Knigge closed out the game for Reading and picked up his second save of the season after pitching a perfect seventh inning.
The R-Phils send RHP Brody Colvin (0-0/5.40 ERA) to the mound as they look for its third straight series win. Tune into 1340 WRAW-AM on the radio dial or online at 1340WRAW.com starting at 5:05 p.m. for the game broadcast with the voice of the Reading Phillies, Brian Seltzer.
Tickets for all regular season home games, including the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor Door Mat on Sunday, August 5th, can be purchased online at www.RPhils.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in person at the R-Phils Ticket Office at FirstEnergy Stadium. The 2012 season featuring the Baseballtown All-Star Classic at America's Classic Ballpark is presented by Pepsi.