Flexen Their Muscles

Ponies take series with 6-2 Father's Day win

(Photo by George Young)

By Reading Fightin Phils | June 18, 2017 5:25 PM ET

Binghamton, NY - With a winning record on the roadtrip already in their back pocket, the Fightin Phils took the field on Sunday at NYSEG Stadium hoping for a series win against the Rumble Ponies. And for the second straight day, they had to see a 22-year-old starter on the Mets 40-man roster take the hill. They eventually solved Marcos Molina in the middle game for a 7-4 win, but found that task a little bit tougher in the finale against Chris Flexen. There was a point where 12 straight Fightins were retired in order, and a couple of first inning runs stood up as the Rumble Ponies won 6-2 before a Father's Day crowd of 2,894.

After starting the roadtrip with a dominant performance in Bowie for his fourth win of the season, Mario Sanchez walked the first two batters of the afternoon. A pickoff throw back to first from catcher Nick Rickles had Luis Guillorme nailed, but it skipped into right field, allowing Champ Stuart to score the game's first run. With one out, Matt Oberste got a hold of a sacrifice fly to right, and his 24th run batted in gave the Rumble Ponies a quick 2-0 lead.

Sanchez later retired five straight before third baseman David Thompson yanked an 0-2 pitch for his second homer of the series with one out in the fourth. Gustavo Nunez followed with a single and a steal, and catcher Colton Playa brought him in with a base hit to double the lead and make it 4-0.

With just three singles over the first four innings, the Fightins showed a little life in the top of the fifth when they got a leadoff single from Rickles, extending his hitting streak to eight. Malquin Canelo reached on a fielder's choice and a sacrifice bunt from Sanchez sent Zach Coppola to the plate, where he'd bounce a single back up the middle to get the Fightins on the board. From that point on, Flexen (2-1) would retire the last seven batters he faced, striking out eight over 7.0 innings in just his third Double-A start.  

Joey DeNato backed up Sanchez (4-2) with a 1-2-3 seventh, and the Rumble Ponies added some insurance in the eighth. Lefthander Austin Davis , coming off his most impressive performance in a win Thursday night in Bowie, struck out the first two batters he faced. With two strikes on Kevin Kazmarski, the Ponies right fielder carried his hitting streak to nine games with a double into left field. Two pitches later, Thompson belted his second home run, adding two runs to give Binghamton a 6-1 lead for the ninth inning.

Reading's resilience was on display when they staged a two-out rally against Cory Burns, despite starting the ninth trailing by five. With two outs, Carlos Tocci kept it alive with his third hit and league-leading fifth triple to right field. Harold Martinez then got into a two-strike count, and rolled an infield single back up the middle for his first RBI since April 23. Down 6-2, Rickles roped the first pitch he saw into left for a double, but the rally ended there as Burns secured the last out to send the Fightin Phils into Monday's off day at 38-27 through 65 games.

America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region. Season tickets for the 2017 season are available online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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