Head, Gilliam lead Sens over Phils

First baseman homers twice; hurler tosses five perfect frames

Jerad Head is 6-for-12 with six RBIs in his last three games. (Carl Kline/MiLB.com)

By John Parker / MLB.com | June 9, 2013 1:15 PM ET

Harrisburg and Reading combined for four runs while splitting Saturday's doubleheader.

On Sunday afternoon, Jerad Head matched that output all by himself, going 4-for-5 with two home runs, a double and four RBIs. Robert Gilliam, meanwhile, tossed five perfect innings as the Double-A Senators rolled to an 8-2 win at Reading.

"I don't go into at-bats thinking about home runs, just to make good contact," Head said.

It was the first four-hit and four-RBI game of the year for Head, a 30-year-old in his first season in the Nationals organization. Before spending 2012 with Toledo in the Tigers system, he played six years in the Indians organization, winning an Eastern League title with Akron in 2009.

Three batters into the game, Head put Harrisburg ahead for good with a two-run blast off David Buchanan. The Fightin Phils starter fared no better in the third as Head sent his first pitch over the left-field wall to extend the lead to 5-0.

In both at-bats, Buchanan was preoccupied with Harrisburg's Steven Souza Jr. on first base. He threw over to first several times, including an errant pickoff attempt in the third that sent Souza all the way to third.

"You have to lock back in when the pitcher is throwing over, but obviously, you want to have runners on base," Head said. "Especially with a guy on third and nobody out, you want to elevate the ball to bring him in [on a sacrifice fly].

"On that one, I got a changeup up in the zone and got good wood on it."

That was plenty of support for Gilliam, who needed only 57 pitches -- 38 for strikes -- to retire all 15 batters he faced. Coming off back-to-back starts in which he allowed eight earned runs over 9 1/3 innings, the 25-year-old right-hander struck out five in improving to 2-1.

"It's always great playing behind a guy throwing strikes like that and controlling the zone," Head said. "He also got a hit today -- his first of the season, I think -- so that's a nice game."

Reading finally got on base and on the board in the sixth after Matt Swynenberg relieved Gilliam. Swynenberg surrendered two runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter in one inning, but the Phils got only two more baserunners -- a one-out walk in the seventh and a two-out single in the ninth.

Head also singled in the fifth and led off the seventh with a double. Needing a triple for the cycle -- he has 17 career triples but just one since 2010 -- Head struck out on a foul tip in the eighth.

"I wasn't honestly considering a triple, but someone in the dugout brought it to my attention," he said. "I was just trying to hit the ball the way I always do."

Souza, batting in the second spot ahead of Head, went 3-for-5 and scored three times. The two combined for seven of Harrisburg's 14 hits.

Buchanan fell to 2-7 for the Fightin Phils, allowing seven runs -- five earned -- on nine hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out three.

John Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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