READING, Pa. - The Fightin Phils (33-42) had a good outing from Hoby Milner and held a 4-3 lead through six innings but the bullpen faltered late to the Portland Sea Dogs (51-27) as Reading lost 9-4 on Thursday night. The Fightin Phils have now lost nine straight games.
Blake Swihart hit a sacrifice fly off Hoby Milner in the top of the 1st inning to score Derrik Gibson and give the Portland Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead. Gibson led off the game with a double and moved to third base on a Deven Marrero groundout to second base.
Reading struck back in the bottom of the 1st inning against Henry Owens (10-3) as Peter Lavin hit a two-run home run to give the Fightin Phils a 2-1 lead. Carlos Alonso walked in the at-bat before Lavin and scored on the play. Portland took a 3-2 lead off Milner as Derrik Gibson hit a RBI double and Deven Marrero hit a sacrifice fly.
Aaron Altherr came through with a big hit for Reading as he hit a two-out, two-run home run off Owens to give Reading a 4-3 lead. Peter Lavin singled before him and the home run for Altherr was his fifth on the season. Hoby Milner left the game after 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs off five hits with three walks and one strikeout.
Colton Murray (0-2) entered the game for the Fightins with two outs in the top of the 7th inning. Murray loaded the bases and Sean Coyle hit a bases-clearing three-run double to give the Sea Dogs a 6-4 lead. Matt Spring hit a solo home run off reliever Mike Nesseth to give Portland a 7-4 lead.
Portland extended their lead to 9-4 off reliever Nefi Ogando as Dave Chester hit a bases-loaded RBI single and Keury De La Cruz hit a sacrifice fly to score Blake Swihart.
Noe Ramirez of the Sea Dogs pitched the final three innings and gave up one hit with one walk and two strikeouts to earn his eighth save of the season.
The Fightin Phils and Portland Sea Dogs will play on Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. Perci Garner (4-4, 4.14) will make the start for Reading. First pitch is at 7:05 pm.
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