READING, Pennsylvania — Keury De La Cruz knocked in three runs, including the game-winning, two-run double in the eighth inning, lifting the Portland Sea Dogs to a 4-1 Eastern League win over the Reading Fightin Phils on Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Sea Dogs (9-13) have won the first two games of the series and look for their first sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon. The Fightin’ Phils slipped to 12-9.
Jonathan Aro (3-1) closed out the game with four perfect innings of relief and three strikeouts. Portland’s bullpen had to cover 8 ⅔ innings due to an injury to starter Justin Haley, who pitched one-third of an inning with one hit and one walk.
The Sea Dogs got to Mike Nesseth in the eighth inning, snapping a 1-1 tie with a three-run rally. Jantzen Witte and Oscar Tejeda (2-for-4) started the inning with singles and De La Cruz hit a two-run double. Luis Martinez added the final run with a two-out, RBI single.
The Sea Dogs cracked the ice in the third inning, taking a 1-0 lead off reliever Anthony Vasquez (5 innings, 3 hits, 1 run). Tejeda led off with a double, stole third base, and scored on an RBI single by De La Cruz.
Portland drew seven walks off starter Tom Windle, who left the game after two innings.
Reading tied the game in bottom half of the third off Simon Mercedes. Gustavo Pierre smoked the first pitch of the inning for a double and scored on KC Serna’s triple to center.
Mercedes took a no-decision, working 4 ⅔ innings while allowing 3 hits, 1 run and striking out 2.
The Sea Dogs and Reading Fightin Phils wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:35 PM. Luis Diaz (0-1, 5.63) starts for Portland against Reading’s Ben Lively (1-0, 2.25).