(PORTLAND, ME) - Connor Seabold delivered six strong innings in the start, and the bats backed him to lift Reading to a 6-1 win and a series victory over the Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday night at Hadlock Field.
Reading (35-25) (74-53) maintains its five-game lead over Hartford and is now 6.5 up on Portland in the Eastern Division, with only 13 games remaining in the regular season.
Josh Stephen struck for the night's first run in the second, jumping on the first offering he saw from Denyi Reyes (7-11) and lining a solo shot to right to put Reading up, 1-0. The longball was Stephen's 11th of the season.
The Fightins grabbed a second tally in the third. Jose Gomez led off with a chopper up the middle for a base hit, and with one out Luke Williams singled to center to put runners at the corners. Alec Bohm came through by pushing a single past first to score Gomez, making it 2-0 Reading.
Portland got on the board against Seabold in the bottom half, following a one-out triple to right-center off the bat of Jarren Duran. Marcus Wilson brought him home with a groundout, making it a 2-1 ballgame.
Reading tacked on in the sixth, after Bohm grounded a one-out single up the middle and Darick Hall drove his league-leading 34th double to right to put two in scoring position. Stephen hit a dribbler up the first base line which the pitcher Reyes fielded, and threw wildly toward first, allowing Bohm and Hall to score.
Nick Maton followed by driving a double that bounced off the warning track in center, plating Stephen to make it 5-1. Maton crossed the plate as well, when Gomez delivered a single to left-center to extend the lead to five.
Seabold (1-1) turned in six strong innings in the start, limiting Portland to just a run on five hits and a walk while striking out six.
Garrett Cleavinger struck out the side on just 10 pitches in the seventh, then worked around a walk and an error to finish off two scoreless innings.
Reading's final run came in the ninth, after the Fightins loaded the bases against Dedgar Jimenez. Mickey Moniak delivered a sacrifice fly for his 65th RBI of the season, extending the lead to 7-1.
Grant Dyer finished it off, striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth.
The final meeting of the season with Portland is set for 12 p.m. on Wednesday, with Colton Eastman on the bump against Bryan Mata. The game will be broadcast on 610 ESPN and the Fightins Radio Network beginning with the Fightins Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.