READING, Pa. — Hitters rarely admit it when they hit a ball about as well and as far as they can, but Portland Sea Dogs third baseman Will Middlebrooks had trouble holding back Thursday night after smacking one of the longest home runs he’s ever hit.

“I got all of that one,” he said after some prodding about his 18th homer of the season, which helped pull the Sea Dogs into a sixth-inning tie against Reading.

The Phillies answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth and went on to an 8-3 Eastern League victory at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The win helped the Phillies (62-62) split the four-game series with the Sea Dogs (53-71), who swept a doubleheader Wednesday night.

The home run continued a breakout season for Middlebrooks, rated the No. 11 prospect in the Boston Red Sox system by Baseball America magazine.

He leads the league with 80 RBI and has a chance to bat .300 for the first time in his four-year professional career. He’s also two homers shy of matching the home run total for his first three seasons.

“I’ve been working on my approach at the plate for the past two years and it’s becoming more of a habit now,” said the 22-year-old Middlebrooks, Boston’s fifth-round pick in 2007. “I’ve created a plan for myself and I’m starting to be consistent with it.”

Middlebrooks did strike out three times Thursday — three Reading pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts — but the one ball he hit was impressive.

It was estimated at 460 feet and sailed well over the grandstand in left field.

“Middlebrooks hit a bomb,” said Reading Manager Mark Parent, impressed with the Red Sox prospect both in the field and at the plate. “It looked like he hit that one to Pottsville (a town about 25 miles away).”

“I got a slider up in the zone and put a pretty good swing on it,” Middlebrooks said.

“We were down at the time, so I wasn’t going to spend time looking at it.”

Jon Hee and Oscar Tejeda followed Middlebrooks’ homer with back-to-back doubles to tie the game, 3-3.

The Phillies knocked Portland starter Matt Rusch out in the bottom of the inning when Tuffy Gosewisch hit an RBI double and Fidel Hernandez and Paco Figueroa followed with consecutive RBI singles to make it 6-3.

Gosewisch, the Reading catcher, continued to torment Portland pitching. He went 3 for 3 with a home run and three RBI. In 10 games against the Sea Dogs this season, he is batting .375 with four of his career-high 12 homer and 12 RBI.

Rusch was making his first start for the Sea Dogs. He had been pitching for Quebec of the independent Canadian-American Association, where he was 6-4 and 2.99 ERA over 102 1/3 innings.

He allowed nine hits and six runs, five earned, over 5 1/3 innings and was touched for a pair of homers, including a leadoff shot by Michael Spidale in the third inning.