(Harrisburg, PA) - Needing a win and a Thunder loss in Bowie, the Reading Fightin Phils missed out on a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Division on Saturday night at FNB Field. For the second time this season, Reading played before the largest crowd at the ballpark, but were unable to take the series after a thrilling 3-1 win on Friday night. Mario Sanchez delivered seven scoreless innings for just the second time in his career, and Dante Bichette Jr. drilled his first home run in a two-RBI performance that gave the Senators a 3-0 shutout in front of 6,558.
Sanchez, a 2017 R-Phil, had his A-stuff early on and was perfect the first time through the lineup with five strikeouts. On the other end, David Parkinson surrendered a first inning run when Tres Barrera came through with the second single of the inning on a two-out base hit up the middle. Parkinson, who came into the weekend a perfect 4-0 on the road, then surrendered a leadoff home run to Bichette on the second pitch of the second inning for a 2-0 hole.
Harrisburg's lead grew to 3-0 in the fourth when Bichette singled home Ian Sagdal following a one-out single into the right field corner. The Fightins only chances in the game came in the fourth and fifth, when they had runners at first and second with no outs in both innings, but were unable to come away with any runs.
Mickey Moniak became the first Fightin Phils baserunner when he led off the fourth with a single to extend his on-base streak to 15 straight games. Josh Stephen soon reached on a fielding error by second baseman Adrian Sanchez to put the tying runs on base and give the lineup a legitimate chance to tie the score. Darick Hall snuck a single into right field that was nearly caught by a diving Rhett Wiseman , who popped up and threw to third to try and get Moniak. When the ball skipped away from Sagdal, Moniak broke to the plate but was thrown out to change the complexion of the evening. Austin Listi ended the threat by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play, but the Fightins had one more push in them in the fifth.
Cornelius Randolph and Arquimedes Gamboa opened the inning with singles, but starting with a strikeout of Austin Bossart , Sanchez retired the last nine batters he faced to finish seven innings for the first time since August 17, 2013 with the Nationals' Dominican Summer League affiliate. Yoan Baez and Aaron Barrett finished the last two innings to give the Senators their sixth shutout of the season, with the Fightins sixth shutout loss coming because 15 of the last 16 were set down without a base hit.
Parkinson (5-4) made it through six innings but lost for the first time on the road, and lefthanders Jonathan Hennigan and Aaron Brown each worked a scoreless inning of relief. The Fightin Phils have two games left in the first half of the season with Sunday's final meeting against the Senators, an off day on Monday, and Tuesday's series opener in Baseballtown against the RubberDucks.
America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region. Season tickets for the 2019 season are available online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person at the Weidenhammer Ticket Office at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins, Instagram at @fightins, 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.