PORTLAND – With two starting pitchers breezing, Sunday’s game at Hadlock Field became a battle of the bullpens.
Reading’s relievers won.
The Reading Phillies scored twice in the eighth and once in the ninth to beat the Portland Sea Dogs 4-2 before 5,957 at Hadlock.
Portland got a tying home run from Oscar Tejeda in the seventh inning off reliever Tyron Brummett.
But Sea Dogs reliever Caleb Clay (1-2) allowed two walks and then a two-out double in the eighth.
Josh Fields gave up a run in the ninth.
Portland scored once in the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs before Derrik Gibson flied out to center.
Reading starter Tyler Cloyd (1.80 ERA) stymied the Sea Dogs, keeping Portland hitless until Juan Carlos Linares’ soft line drive to right field with two outs in the sixth inning.
Cloyd began the year as a fill-in in Triple-A. He pitched six perfect innings and then was sent back to Double-A, where he has shined.
Sea Dogs left-hander Chris Hernandez pitched well, allowing six hits and one run over 52/3 innings. He walked none and struck out three.
Neither pitcher fired 90 mph fastballs, but they mixed pitches and threw strikes.
“Their pitch-ability was pretty good,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. “They both throw strikes and go right after hitters.”
Hernandez, who induced 11 groundouts, dropped his ERA to 1.69.
“Early on, I didn’t have all my pitches,” Hernandez said. “But I found the curveball and the change-up.”
Hernandez used a lot of cut fastballs and retired nine straight at one point.
“He just goes out there and competes,” catcher Matt Spring said. “He didn’t have his best sinker today, but that’s Chris — he goes out and battles and gives us a good start.”
Reading’s Tyson Gillies led off the game with a single. He advanced to third on two groundouts and scored on Sebastian Valle’s single to center.
With the score 1-1, Gillies and Darin Ruf walked off Clay in the eighth inning, setting up Spidale, who flared an opposite-field line drive to right, putting the Phillies up 3-1.
A sacrifice fly made it 4-1 in the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Tejeda led off with a bloop single. Ronald Bermudez followed with a double, putting runners on second and third.
Spring’s fly ball dropped in center field, but Tejeda was thrown out at home. Ryan Dent’s sacrifice fly scored Bermudez, closing the score to 4-2.
Zach Gentile singled and Jeremy Hazelbaker walked to load the bases. But closer Justin Friend got Gibson to fly out for his fifth save.
The Phillies (15-7) continue to lead the Eastern League East Division, while Portland (7-17) remains in last place. The 17 losses in a franchise record for April.
NOTES: The Sea Dogs’ depleted roster got some relief with the arrival of infielder Gentile from Salem. He showed up about an hour before Sunday’s game and started at second base. Gentile replaced Heiker Meneses, who went on the disabled list after he strained a shoulder while diving for a ball on Saturday
Third baseman Kolbrin Vitek (sore back after being beaned on Saturday) and outfielder Bryce Brentz (sore heel) did not play Sunday. The Yankees-affiliated Trenton Thunder make their first Hadlock appearance at 6 p.m. today. New York veteran Andy Pettitte was initially scheduled to pitch, but the Yankees changed their mind, not wanting Pettitte to pitch in cold weather.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: