READING, Pa. — The looks on the faces of the Portland Sea Dogs told the story.

They stood in their dugout in stunned silence as Matt Rizzotti rounded the bases and touched home, his three-run, ninth-inning homer stunning the Sea Dogs and giving the Reading Phillies a 5-3 Eastern League win at FirstEnergy Stadium Wednesday night.

The struggling Sea Dogs (23-22) had pushed across the go-ahead run in the eighth against the Phillies (20-25).

Portland took a 3-2 lead when Chih-Hsien Chiang drew the third of three straight walks, forcing home Luis Exposito.

Walks came back to haunt the Sea Dogs in the ninth as Domonic Brown and Tagg Bozied drew back-to-back, one-out walks off Eammon Portice (0-3).

Rizzotti, promoted to Double-A 10 days ago, followed with a liner over the fence in left-center for his second homer of the game and fourth of the season.

“We had ourselves in position to win a ballgame,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “Everybody’s disappointed – they should be.”
The loss was the sixth straight for the Sea Dogs in Reading and seventh in nine games overall.

“We’ve been struggling to score runs, and get guys out here, lately,” Beyeler said. “We took advantage of some walks to get a run.
“We’re grinding to get ahead of these guys. They’ve been thumping on us here the last couple days. We put ourselves in position, and we didn’t make them earn it.”

Casey Kelly, making his ninth start for Portland, allowed seven hits and three walks during his 87-pitch outing.

The Phillies had some good swings against him, none better than Rizzotti’s towering two-run homer in the third that tied the score, 2-2.
Kelly, still looking for his first Double-A win, also gave up a double off the wall in right-center to Brian Stavisky in the third and a double to Ozzie Chavez in the fourth.

Somehow, he found a way to escape major damage.

The Phillies loaded the bases with one out in the second, but Kelly fanned Quintin Berry and got Tuffy Gosewisch on a pop fly.

The Phillies had runners on first and third with one out in the fourth before third baseman Ray Chang threw Chavez out at home on Brown’s grounder against a drawn-in infield.

“He pitched out of trouble, trusted his stuff, went after guys,” Beyeler said. “He got out of some jams, worked out of it, did a nice job.”

The Sea Dogs ended their 11-inning scoreless drought in the third to take a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Exposito and Anthony Rizzo.

Portland had a chance to take a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Matt Sheely hit a liner into the left-center gap with Juan Apodaca on first, but Kevin Mahar raced over to take away an extra-base hit.