PORTLAND – The Portland Sea Dogs have been hot, the Reading Phillies not.

But this is baseball, and momentum can change in a hurry.

The Phillies strung together five straight hits to score three runs in the sixth inning, and held on for a 4-3 victory Monday night at Hadlock Field.

The loss was just the second for Portland in its last eight games. Reading (9-15) stopped a six-game losing streak.

“We’ve just been struggling,” said Reading third baseman Brandon Pinckney, who is playing for his third Eastern League team (after Akron and Bowie). Pinckney’s RBI double capped the sixth-inning rally.

“We needed that. This was a big win for us.”

After Reading went ahead 4-1 on a sacrifice fly in the seventh, Sea Dogs second baseman Nate Spears homered in the bottom of the inning — a two-run shot into the fourth row of the right-field pavilion.

Spears kept Portland alive with a two-out single in the ninth, and Ray Chang bounced an infield single off the pitcher’s glove. A throwing error sent Spears to third.

But Ryan Kalish grounded out to first to end the game.

“A good ballgame,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “They came out and swung the bats and took advantage of some situations.”

Portland starter Kyle Weiland pitched for the first time in 12 days because of a foot contusion. He was on a tight pitch count, and held Reading scoreless on one hit over four innings. He left after 60 pitches.

“It was nice to be back on the mound,” Weiland said.

“I tried to induce a lot of swings and let the defense work behind me.”

Using his sinking fastball and his off-speed pitches, Weiland got six groundouts and two strikeouts.

Portland scored in the fourth inning after loading the bases on a double by Luis Exposito and singles by Che-Hsuan Lin and Jose Iglesias. Exposito scored on a double play.

Eammon Portice (2-1) relieved Weiland and pitched a scoreless fifth. But with one out in the sixth, Reading got four straight singles and a double by Pinckney.

“They just jumped on him,” Beyeler said. “They were hitting the fastballs before he could get ahead (in the count).”

An error by first baseman Will Vazquez, a hit batter and a single set up Domonic Brown’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Phillies starter Yohan Flande (1-2, 2.10 ERA) left in the seventh after yielding Jason Place’s second double of the night and Spears’ home run.

Sergio Escalona got the last four outs for his fourth save.

 

NOTES: Reliever T.J. Large’s stay in Portland was brief, as expected. He was promoted back to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he began the season. He replaced Fabio Castro, who went on the disabled list. The paid attendance was 3,191.

Kylie Higgins of Boothbay Harbor got a souvenir the hard way, getting hit in the ribs by a bat, which Chih-Hsien Chiang lost control of while swinging at a pitch. She was OK but had to duck later in the game when a foul ball was lined her way. …

A familiar Hawaiian was taking ground balls at second base during the Phillies’ infield practice. Keoni DeRenne, one of the stars of Portland’s 2006 Eastern League championship team, was back at Hadlock Field in a Reading uniform.

DeRenne, who hit a three-run triple in the Sea Dogs’ 8-5 title-clinching win over Akron, played independent league ball the past three years before the Phillies signed him this spring. He is currently on the inactive list. … DeRenne’s new Reading teammate, Brandon Pinckney, played for Akron in 2006.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

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