READING, Pa. — Portland Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles didn’t want to talk about the play at the plate that cost his club a chance to tie the game in eighth inning.

After seeing the Sea Dogs getting swept by the red-hot Reading Phillies, Boles probably would just as soon forget the entire three-game series.

Portland’s 3-2 loss Sunday was similar to the previous two games, as the Sea Dogs failed to come up with key hits in clutch situations.

“We just need to be a little more consistent with runners in scoring position,” Boles said, “but we’re seeing signs that that’s improving.”

Just as they did the night before, the Sea Dogs (8-12) rallied from a 3-0 deficit and twice had a chance to tie it or take the lead in the late innings.

The Sea Dogs loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth before Justin DeFratus got Che-Hsuan Lin to ground out.

An inning earlier, it looked as though the Sea Dogs had tied it when Lin tried to score from second on Tim Federowicz’s two-out single to left. Lin appeared to beat left fielder Michael Spidale’s looping throw home, but catcher Tim Kennelly slid his foot in front of the plate to block it, then applied the tag.

Boles didn’t see it that way and a heated argument with home plate ump Joey Amaral ensued, ending in the manager’s ejection.

Replays supported the umpire’s call.

“I kind of deked the runner, (to) make him think that there was no play,” Kennelly said. “When the throw came I just dropped the foot back (in front of the plate) and tried to cut the plate off.”

DeFratus retired the first two batters in the ninth before Oscar Tejeda hit a high chopper over the mound. Shortstop Freddy Galvis charged and attempted a barehanded pickup but couldn’t make the play.

Chih-Hsien Chiang followed with a broken-bat bloop single to center, and Mitch Dening walked to load the bases.

The rally died there, however, sending the Sea Dogs to their 10th straight loss in Reading.

“We gave ourselves a chance,” Boles said of the ninth. “The guys kept fighting back. Again, getting timely hits with runners in scoring position, we missed some opportunities today, but we also took care of some opportunities.

“Our guys, they always keep fighting. That’s the character of this ballclub, and our offense, they keep coming back and they try to get themselves back in the game.”

The win was the fifth straight for the Phillies (16-7), who got a pair of solo homers from Cody Overbeck. Reading owns the best record in the Eastern League, leads the league in runs and is third with a 2.94 ERA.

“They have quality pitching, and they play quality defense,” Boles said. “Reading is a good ballclub, it really is impressive.”