READING, Pa. — Henry Ramos had a good day Wednesday against the Reading Fightin Phils; the Portland Sea Dogs didn’t.
Ramos pounded a pair of long home runs, his first two of the year. Mookie Betts added his fifth of the season, but all three were with the bases empty.
It all went for naught in an 8-3 loss that saw the Sea Dogs give up 14 hits and hit into three double plays.
“We just couldn’t come up with big hits with runners on base,” said Manager Billy McMillon, who saw his team miss a chance at a three-game sweep of the Phils (15-14).
It started off well for the Sea Dogs (19-11), with Betts leading off the game with a homer — as he did in Portland’s opener at Reading five weeks earlier.
Hoby Milner of Reading was in trouble throughout the first three innings, constantly falling behind in counts and giving up five hits.
But other than Betts, no one made him pay.
By the time Ramos hit his first homer the Sea Dogs were trailing 7-1 after the Phils batted around against Mike Augliera and Miguel Celestino in a six-run sixth.
Augliera was in command early, allowing only a bunt single through three innings.
The Phils tied it on Aaron Altherr’s RBI single in the fourth.
It all came apart in the sixth after Carlos Alonso led off with a double. Zach Collier followed with an RBI single and Cam Perkins with an RBI double.
Augliera gave up run-scoring hits to Brock Stassi and Albert Cartwright before Celestino entered. He was greeted by a two-run homer from backup catcher Lars Davis that made it 7-1.
Ramos finally got to Milner in the seventh with a towering shot to left. It was the Sea Dogs’ first hit since Derrik Gibson’s bunt single in the third.
Two innings later Ramos homered against reliever Kyle Simon.
It was his first two-homer game since last July 17 with Class A Salem. Last season he didn’t hit his first of 12 homers until May 11.
“For me it was good,” said Ramos, “but if my team wins it’s better.”
Ramos was a key hitter last season during Salem’s run to the Carolina League championship. He’s off to a fast start, with a .327 batting average and 19 RBI in 29 games.
“I’m working hard every day with the hitting coach (Rich Gedman),” said Ramos. “I’m trying to have a good turn at bat. I don’t control what happens but if it’s a home run or a hit, it’s good. I’m happy for the results today.”
“We’re not trying to hit home runs,” said McMillon. “He just had a really good day. Those balls carried out and he’s glad to have those home runs. He got good pitches up in the zone and he was able to drive them out. When you get those pitches, that’s what you’re supposed to do with them.”
Betts’ homer extended his on-base streak to 59 straight games. He’s beaten up Phillies pitching pretty good during that stretch, with a .514 batting average, three homers, seven RBI and 14 runs in 10 games.
Reading Manager Dusty Wathan wasn’t upset to see Betts board the bus for home. The Sea Dogs don’t play the Phils again until June 26.
“He might not be there when we see them the next time,” Wathan said, hoping Betts is promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. “If he keeps doing what he’s doing, you can only keep a guy that’s hitting .400 at certain levels for very long.”
NOTES: There’s a big-time pitching matchup Friday night at Hadlock Field with Sea Dogs left-hander Henry Owens, the top-rated pitcher in the Red Sox organization, facing Aaron Sanchez of New Hampshire, the No. 1 prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays. â€¦ Sea Dogs pitchers allowed six earned runs in the first six games of this trip before yielding eight Wednesday.