READING, Pa. — Every time the Portland Sea Dogs play, Deven Marrero’s got the best seat in the house.
He bats second in the Sea Dogs order, behind Mookie Betts, and that’s a very good place to be.
“It’s really easy to hit with him in front of me,” said Marrero, who homered and drove in four runs Monday in the Sea Dogs’ 8-1 Eastern League win over the Reading Fightin Phils at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Marrerro had a two-run homer, his second, in the second to give the Sea Dogs (18-10) a 4-0 lead. He also had a two-run single in the eighth to drive in the final two runs. Betts scored on each of his hits.
“He’s a great athlete, a great player,” said Marrero of the league’s leading hitter. “What he’s doing right now is very impressive. People need to come watch this. It’s fun to watch.”
Betts reached base four times in five plate appearances.
He singled, stole a base and scored in the two-run first. He walked ahead of Marrero’s homer in the second, walked again in the seventh and then finished his day with an RBI single in the eighth. He scored three runs and lifted his batting average to .412.
The Sea Dogs faced right-hander Mike Nesseth for the second time in less than a week and made quick work of him.
They took advantage of his control issues, drew three walks, ran a bunch of deep counts and saw him depart after two innings, with the Phils (14-13) trailing 5-0.
Blake Swihart burned him with a two-run double in the first inning to drive in Betts and Marrero.
Travis Shaw followed Marrero’s second-inning blast with a solo shot, his team-leading fifth.
“We’ve got a great team, and they’re ready to put great at-bats together every time they hit,” said Marrero.
“We have so much fun when we play. We play the game the right way, and we play hard. That’s all the coaches ask. It’s an awesome feeling.”
With five early runs, Keith Couch was positioned to become the league’s first five-game winner, but the 24-year-old right-hander wasn’t at the top of his game.
He wasn’t sharp, and though he allowed just one run he was constantly working his way out of jams.
He was pulled after four innings – his shortest outing of the season – after allowing seven hits.
Relievers Robby Scott and Mike Olmsted picked him up, closing the game with four shutout innings.
Right-hander Mike McCarthy was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week after going 2-0 and throwing 12 scoreless innings in wins last week.