(ERIE, PA) - Coming out of their final scheduled off day of the season, the Fightin Phils knew their work would be cut out for them against the SeaWolves in a matchup between the two first-place teams in the second half. With first rounders Casey Mize and Alex Faedo not scheduled to pitch in the series, Reading got a softer landing but also ran into a tough lineup in game one. All seven SeaWolves who came away with a hit had at least two, with Derek Hill finishing with three runs batted in after his two-run homer in the third gave Erie the lead for good. In a 10-5 loss, the Fightin Phils have split the first four games on their roadtrip with two more coming up from UPMC Park beginning on Wednesday night.
Luke Williams led off the game with a base hit for the third straight game, slicing a double into right-center to become the first Fightin Phil with a 12-game hitting streak this season. Alec Bohm then worked a walk with one out, and was smart on the bases when Darick Hall hit into an inning-ending 3-6 double play. Bohm made sure to get tagged after Williams crossed the plate, making it 1-0 for Julian Garcia before he even took the mound for his third Double-A start.
The SeaWolves tied the score in the home half on back-to-back two-out doubles by Jose Azocar and Josh Lester , but were turned aside quickly by Garcia in a nine-pitch bottom of the second. In the third, Williams broke the tie with an RBI single up the middle after Jose Gomez got to second after a leadoff single and a passed ball.
During their big inning in the third, the 'Wolves started it with four straight hits. Hill's two-run homer came before a double from shortstop Isaac Paredes and a run-scoring single from Azocar pushed the lead to 4-2. With two outs, designated hitter Kody Eaves singled home the fifth run as the seventh batter of the inning before Garcia got a flyout to end it.
Sergio Alcantara picked up the slack with a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth, and former R-Phil Chace Numata snuck a single into right to start 2-for-2 and put a pair of runners on for the top of the order. Hill's sacrifice fly made it 6-2 and a wild pitch scored Numata for a five-run advantage. Manager Shawn Williams gave Garrett Cleavinger the first opportunity out of the bullpen, and the lefthander responded by striking out the first four batters he faced on the way to eight straight set down.
In the seventh, the Fightin Phils loaded the bases to start the inning against lefty Jose Manuel Fernandez on singles from Cornelius Randolph and Arquimedes Gamboa , plus an error by Alcantara at second base. Henri Lartigue got a run back for Reading with a flyout to the left field wall for his 24th run batted in to inch closer and make it 7-3. In the bottom of the inning, Eaves pushed the lead back to five with a two-out double, one of three hits in the inning for the SeaWolves. They'd tack on four more plus a pair of runs in the eighth, getting to 10-3 on consecutive two-out singles from Azocar and Lester.
Gamboa led off the ninth with his second home run in four games, going deep to right off Erie reliever Wladimir Pinto . With one away and Gomez aboard after a walk and a wild pitch, Williams' third hit struck Pinto and knocked him out of the game. Nolan Blackwood entered, and needed just three pitches to induce a game-ending 3-6 double play, but not before Gomez scored the final run in a 10-5 final.
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