Fightin’ Phils 7, Senators 5
The first inning couldn’t have gone any better for the Senators on Tuesday night at Metro Bank Park. Harrisburg starter Caleb Clay resumed his excellent string of outings as he set the Reading Fightin’ Phils down rather easily in order. In the bottom half of the inning, Senators’ leadoff hitter Brian Goodwin then launched a Seth Rosin offering out onto the right-center field boardwalk for his second home run and a quick 1-0 lead. Josh Johnson, Erik Komatsu, and Jerad Head all followed with singles and prompted a coaching visit to the mound by pitching coach Dave Lundquist. Rosin would get out of the jam but not before finding himself and the Fightin’ Phils in a 3-0 hole.
It was a lead the Senators would look to expand in the third inning when they put runners on second and third base with one out after Head hustled his way from a single into a double. With Reading’s infield in, Justin Bloxom grounded out to the shortstop and Destin Hood followed with a routine fly out to left field. “That’s what this game is about being able to take advantage of those breaks, and we didn’t do it,” manager Matt LeCroy said, “We let them back in the game after that. The momentum shifted. If we get a run in there we keep the momentum, but if we don’t they know they’re right there in that game.”
Reading chipped away with two runs in the fourth inning and chased Clay in the seventh with the tying run on second base. Reliever Ian Krol struck out pinch-hitter Ronnie Welty on three pitches and induced what appeared to be an inning-ending groundball, but Johnson misplayed the bouncer and the tying run scored as the ball trickled away into short left field.
Harrisburg’s shortstop would gain redemption in the bottom half of the inning when he singled Sandy Leon home to regain the one-run lead. The score would remain 4-3 in favor of the Senators into the ninth inning when Pat Lehman was called on for the save situation.
The first two pitches Lehman delivered in the frame were both knocked for singles and the Fightin’ Phils were threatening with runners on the corners. After the 6’3″ reliever struck out Edgar Duran, he was one pitch away from getting out of the mess if he could induce a double play ball. Unfortunately, he was one pitch away from surrendering a three-run bomb off the bat of Zach Collier that cleared everything in right field. Reading would tack on yet another run and the Senators’ chances appeared slim facing a three-run deficit with only three outs left in the game.
But these Senators are a “never say die” team and they loaded the bases on two walks and a single with one out. A balk by Reading reliever Mauricio Robles plated a run and moved everybody up 90 feet and put both tying runs into scoring position. What few fans that remained were sent home disappointed when Johnson flew out to shallow right field and Komatsu struck out to end the contest with the Senators on the losing end.
Player of the Game: Brian Goodwin
“We made too many mistakes but at the same time I thought we were in position to win that ballgame…The good thing about the game is that we come out here tomorrow and hopefully make some adjustments and be better.” – LeCroy
“He’s too athletic for that to matter. He has to be able to play left field…He has to be able to move around. He works extremely hard at it but I just think he’s going through a little stretch right here in his game.” – LeCroy on Destin Hood’s defensive struggles moving from right field to left field
From the Windup
• Prior to the game, the Senators received Jerad Head back from AAA Syracuse and Erik Komatsu was assigned to the team out of extended spring training. Randolph Oduber was sent down to Hi-A Potomac to put the Senators back at the roster limit.
• The loss was the first time all season that the Senators were defeated after scoring first in the game. Previously, they had been 7-0 in games when they plated a run before their opponent.
• The first four batters in the Senators’ order (Goodwin, Johnson, Komatsu, and Head) went a combined 10 for 18, while everyone else could manage only one hit in 17 at-bats.
• Reading second baseman Albert Cartwright’s single in the ninth inning extended his hitting streak to a Eastern League season best 12 games.