(HARTFORD, CT) - Spencer Howard twirled six strong innings, and the Fightin Phils made their two hits count in a 2-1 victory in the series opener on Thursday night at Dunkin Donuts Park.
Reading (36-25) (75-53) extended its lead in the Eastern Division, and now sits 6.5 up on Hartford with only 11 games remaining in the regular season.
Howard (1-0) delivered six innings in the start, limiting the Yard Goats (29-31) (66-61) to just an unearned run on two hits. He did not permit a walk, and struck out seven.
Luke Williams opened the ballgame with a single off Ashton Goudeau (3-3), then advanced to second on his 25th stolen base of the season. He moved down to third on a wild pitch, and Alec Bohm brought him in with a sacrifice fly to right to put Reading up, 1-0.
The Fightins pieced together a second run two innings later. Henri Lartigue was hit by a pitch to start the frame, stole second, and was advanced to third on Howard's sacrifice bunt. Williams followed with a sacrifice fly to left, putting the Fightins ahead 2-0.
Hartford cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth, after Mylz Jones was hit by a pitch, stole second, and moved up to third on Moniak's sliding catch in center. With two down, Colton Welker reached on an error on Bohm at third, allowing Jones to score.
Jeff Singer took over for Howard in the seventh and worked a scoreless frame, picking up a pair of strikeouts. Jakob Hernandez added a scoreless eighth, and Addison Russ set the side down in order in the ninth to earn his 19th save.
The Fightins battle Hartford in game two of the four-game series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. David Parkinson has the start against Brandon Gold, and the game will be broadcast on 610 ESPN and the Fightins Radio Network beginning with This Week in Baseballtown at 6:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.