CURVE, Pa. -- The Reading Fightin Phils struck for four runs in the ninth inning and defeated the Altoona Curve, 7-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
With the score tied, 3-3, through six innings, the Fightin Phils (71-48, 32-20) left the bases loaded in the seventh against Curve (59-60, 23-28) reliever Jesus Liranzo , who then worked a 1-2-3 top of the eighth. The Curve had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth but Reading reliever Jeff Singer (Win, 6-0) stranded two runners in a scoreless inning and a game that featured four lead changes went to the ninth still locked in a 3-3 tie.
Matt Eckelman (Loss, 1-5), Altoona's third reliever of the night, took over in the ninth and allowed the first four batters he faced to reach base. Alec Bohm led off with a walk followed by a Darick Hall single to put runners at first and third. Josh Stephen broke the tie with an RBI double to deep center and three batters later, Henri Lartigue drove in two more with a single to right, which chased Eckelman from the game.
Reading added one more run on a two-out error by third baseman Brett Pope to go up 7-3 before Blake Cederlind got the Curve out of the inning. Eckelman allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits and a walk in just 0.1 innings. The Curve went down quietly in the bottom of the ninth as Addison Russ worked around a two-out single to pitch a scoreless inning.
The Fightin Phils scored their first three runs in the fifth off Curve starter Pedro Vasquez , who held Reading hitless through four innings but was tagged for three runs on three hits in the fifth. Mickey Moniak launched a two-run homer to right to give the Fightin' Phils a 2-1 lead on their first hit of the night. Bohm followed with a double to right-center and scored on an RBI single from Stephen, which knocked Vasquez out of the game and extended Reading's lead to 3-1. Vasquez went 4.2 innings, struck out four batters, walked three and hit one.
The Curve answered to tie the game with two runs in the sixth off Fightin Phils starter Adonis Medina after they managed just one run off the right-hander through the first five frames. Logan Hill led off with a double to left-center and Bligh Madris brought him home with an RBI single to right. Two batters later, Pope ripped a double to right, which pushed Madris to third before he scored the tying run on pinch-hitter Chris Sharpe 's RBI groundout. Medina walked the next batter, Tolman, and exited after 5.2 innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Pope, Oliva and Oneil Cruz , who plated the first run of the game with a third-inning sacrifice fly, each had two hits for the Curve.
Francisco Cervelli , who caught seven innings for the Curve in his first Major League rehab appearance, went 1-for-3 with a double in the fifth and was hit by a pitch in the third.
Following an off day Monday and a three-game series in Harrisburg, the Curve return home on Friday, August 16 to take on the Bowie Baysox at 7 p.m. Friday's game is the start of a six-game homestand that runs through Wednesday, August 22, featuring three-game against Bowie followed by three against the Hartford Yard Goats. For tickets or more information about upcoming promotions, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office. Additionally, the Stockyard Team Store is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., during every home game and online 24/7/365.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.