(Reading, PA) - After suffering their worst loss of the season on Monday night to start their series against the Sea Dogs, the Reading Fightin Phils were looking to avoid a three-game losing streak and a .500 record. In a rematch from April 7 between lefthanders Bailey Falter and Darwinzon Hernandez , Reading fared better the second time around after Boston's top pitching prospect shut them down over five in a 6-0 shutout. Timely two out hitting and a strong performance from Falter were crucial, and a 5-2 final set the stage for the third and deciding game of the series on Wednesday at noon.
The Fightins have been particularly good in ballgames where they score first, and this one was no different. In the second, Ali Castillo smashed a leadoff double into left and Grenny Cumana laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to give the lineup two cracks at the game's first run. With two outs, Austin Bossart brought in his third run of the season with a single into left, giving Falter his first lead to protect.
Jeremy Rivera soon tied the game in the top of the third with a homer to left, and later made it 2-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. This time the R-Phils had the immediate response, sending seven to the plate during Hernandez' (1-1) final inning in the bottom of the fifth.
Luke Williams led off with a single, then scored the tying run on Adam Haseley's booming double into left center. A passed ball from catcher Jhon Nunez scored the second run, giving Reading its second lead of the night at 3-2. Falter (1-1) became the first starter to go six innings, retiring 11 of the last 13 Sea Dogs he faced after Rivera's home run in the third. His most impressive moment actually came earlier in the evening, when he got an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Nunez with the bases loaded in the second.
In the bottom of the seventh, the R-Phils scored two more insurance runs off lefthander Dominic LoBrutto in his Double-A debut. Williams' second hit was a hard double into left field and after a pair of groundouts, the Sea Dogs opted to intentionally walk Austin Listi instead of throwing a 3-1 pitch. The move backfired with Castillo coming through again with his second double for a 4-2 lead, and Cumana singling him home to send it to the eighth inning.
That's where Luke Leftwich finished his second scoreless inning of relief, although he did allow his first hit of the season (it had to happen eventually) after striking out the side in the seventh. A walk to Bobby Dalbec brought up the tying run, but Leftwich closed his outing with his second strikeout of the inning.
The Sea Dogs threatened again in the ninth against closer Addison Russ , with Tate Matheny and Josh Tobias going back-to-back with a single and a double. Russ was resilient after that, leaving the tying run at the plate with a weak popup on the infield and two strikeouts to earn his first save.
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.