(PORTLAND, ME) - Josh Stephen finished with three hits, knocking in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of a back-and-forth battle, as the Fightin Phils outlasted the Portland Sea Dogs, 8-7 in 10 innings on Monday night at Hadlock Field.
Reading (34-25) (73-53) extended its lead to five games over Hartford and 5.5 over Portland in the Eastern Division, with just 14 games remaining in the regular season.
The Fightins grabbed the lead against Konner Wade (4-5) in the opening frame, following a two-out single from Alec Bohm and a walk to Darick Hall. Stephen blooped a single into shallow center, plating Bohm to push Reading ahead, 1-0.
Reading added on in the second, again with two outs. Henri Lartigue got things going with a ground-rule double to left, and Luke Williams brought him in with a single to right. Williams took second on the throw home, and scored on Moniak's single through the right side to make it 3-0.
Portland (28-30) (55-70) came back to tie it in the bottom half against Julian Garcia, grabbing their first run on Jeremy Rivera's RBI single. The Sea Dogs brought it even on a two-run single from Jarren Duran, and took the lead an inning later on Brett Netzer's two-out RBI single.
Bohm tied it again in the fifth.
On a 2-2 offering, Bohm launched one off the bottom of the videoboard beyond the left-centerfield fence for his 13th Double-A home run, and 20th total this season, knotting the game up at four.
Reading broke the tie in the sixth, after Nick Maton opened the frame with a single to right. Arquimedes Gamboa walked with one out and was forced out at second on Lartigue's comebacker to the hill, but Lartigue beat the relay to first to keep the inning going with runners at the corners.
Williams came through for his second RBI of the night, a liner that caromed off the back of the pitcher Wade for a single to plate Maton and give Reading a 5-4 lead.
Moniak followed by ripping his league-leading 13th triple of the season to right field, bringing in both Lartigue and Williams to make it 7-4.
Jeff Singer worked two perfect innings in relief, before the Sea Dogs cut the deficit down to one in the eighth.
With Jonathan Hennigan on to pitch, Joey Curletta's two run home run made it 7-6. Luke Tendler followed with a walk, and Netzer's double up the first base line put the tying run at third. Michael Osinski walked to load the bases, and the Fightins called upon their closer Addison Russ.
Russ inherited a one-out, bases-full situation with a one-run lead, and delivered. He induced a grounder to first off the bat of Rivera that resulted in a force out at home, then struck out the pinch hitter Charlie Madden to preserve the one-run lead.
Down to their final two outs, Portland tied it in the ninth on Marcus Wilson's home run over the Maine Monster in left, bringing it back even at seven.
With Bohm opening the 10th as the free runner at second, Reading cashed in to retake the lead. Stephen delivered a long single off the right field wall with one out, plating Bohm to put the Fightins back on top, 8-7.
The Sea Dogs refused to go down easily in the bottom of the 10th.
With Curletta starting the inning at second, Dylan Hardy put down a bunt single to place the tying run at third and the winning run at first. Jakob Hernandez came through with a three-pitch strikeout of Netzer, before a walk to Osinski loaded the bases.
After an eight-pitch battle, Hernandez cut down Rivera on strikes for a big second out, before Rivera and Portland manager Joe Oliver were subsequently ejected for arguing. Hernandez then got Madden to pop out to Maton at second to end the three-hour and 31-minute battle.
The middle game of the three-game set will take place on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Connor Seabold takes the mound against Denyi Reyes, and 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.