TRENTON, NJ - Alex Rodriguez played third base for seven innings, walked four times in four plate appearances and Trenton scored a pair of runs in the 8th inning to break a 5-5 tie in an exciting Friday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.
For a second straight night Rodriguez suited-up for the Thunder against the East Division rival Reading Fightin Phils, and for a second straight night the Thunder beat the Fightins-this time by a 7-5 final in front of 8,113 fans.
Rodriguez, who was playing in his second (and final) game with the Thunder as announced by the New York Yankees, walked three times against starting pitcher Brody Colvin and once against reliever Juan Sosa. In his two games with Trenton this weekend, Rodriguez went 1-for-2 with a homer, two RBI, two runs and five walks. In four games between two rehab stints with the Thunder, the 14-time MLB All-Star went 3-for-9 with five walks (.571 OBP), three runs, five RBI and a pair of home runs.
With the game tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Reading inserted righty Mike Nesseth to keep it that way. Nesseth, whose record drops to 1-3 on the season with all three losses coming at the hands of the Thunder, allowed a leadoff single to Reegie Corona. Corona then stole second base and advanced to third base on Casey Stevenson's fly ball to deep right-centerfield. With one out, the Cody Grice executed a safety squeeze back to the pitcher Nesseth who threw wildly to the plate and allowed Trenton to jump ahead 6-5. Jose Gil's RBI single- his third of the game- scored Grice and padded the lead.
The Thunder trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the 5th inning thanks to Anthony Hewitt's 15th home run of the season for Reading. The Thunder responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning however to take a 5-4 lead. After a leadoff double by Gil, Ramon Flores singled him home for the first run of the inning. A walk to Rodriguez and a strikeout by Slade Heathcott made it runners at first and second base with one out. That was when Jose Pirela lofted a high fly ball clear over the left field foul pole for a three-run homer and his first home run in 107 at-bats (June 21st vs. Portland).
Danny Burawa came on to get the final four outs of the game and retired all four batters he faced (two strikeouts), improves to 4-2 on the season with the win.
The Thunder conclude their six-game homestand, and three-game series against Reading Sunday evening at ARM & HAMMER Park. The ballgame begins at 5:05 p.m. and features RHP Shane Greene (4-3, 3.09) pitching for the Thunder against LHP Bobby Bramhall (0-2, 3.38). Limited tickets still available at www.trentonthunder.com/tickets or by calling the Thunder Ticket Office at (609)394-3300. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and streaming online begins at 4:45 p.m.