READING, Pa. — Reading Fightin Phils reliever Colton Murray thought he had Portland’s Derrik Gibson struck out to end the seventh inning. The right-hander took a step off the mound, secure in the thought that he successfully protected a one-run lead.
Murray didn’t get the call he wanted, Gibson ended up drawing a walk and the Sea Dogs came up with three runs, taking the lead and grabbing the momentum in what ended as a 9-4 Eastern League win over Reading on Thursday night.
“That inning characterizes our ballclub,” said Sea Dogs second baseman Sean Coyle, who delivered the key three-run double. “We’re not gonna give up.”
The Sea Dogs (51-27) trailed 4-3 after six innings as the Phils (33-42) jumped on Futures Game pick Henry Owens for a pair of homers.
Peter Lavin hit a two-run shot in the first and Aaron Altherr followed with a two-run homer in the fifth.
Owens, who entered with a league-leading 1.99 ERA, hadn’t allowed a homer since April 27, a streak that stretched to 541/3 innings before Lavin got him.
Owens was looking at his first loss since May 19 before his teammates picked him up, scoring three times in the seventh to go up 6-4.
“Two outs, nobody on, and Gibson works a walk,” said Coyle. “Deven (Marrero) beats a ball in the hole at short (for a single) to keep an inning alive.”
Blake Swihart reached to load the bases when second baseman Carlos Alonso, who won a Rawlings Gold Glove last season for his fielding prowess, booted a ground ball.
Coyle followed by slashing a double over the head of right fielder Zach Collier, clearing the bases. It was the second of three hits for Coyle, who jacked his batting average to .357.
“That’s what this team is about, putting good at-bats together no matter what the score is or how many outs there are,” said Coyle. “This team is just gonna fight. We really pride ourselves on doing that.”
Owens ended up with his league-leading 10th win – he’s 10-3 – despite allowing four runs over six innings. He struck out six and walked two.
In the process he became the franchise career ERA leader at 2.13, taking the record away from Jon Lester, who posted a 2.57 mark. Owens previously didn’t have enough innings to qualify for the club record.
“Henry might not have had all his stuff but that just shows you how good he is,” said Coyle, “that he’s going to come out and battle and leave a team in position to win a game when he comes out.
“What separates him from a lot of guys is his ability to stay positive and have a short memory and move on from things.”
NOTES: Outfielder Bo Greenwell was released by the Red Sox on Thursday. He batted .182 in 25 games. … Outfielder Shannon Wilkerson joined the Sea Dogs from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was batting .234. He batted .296 in 45 games with Portland to begin the season. … The Sea Dogs won’t face Reading lefty Jesse Biddle on Sunday as expected. After recent struggles, the Philadelphia Phillies placed the former No. 1 draft pick on the temporary inactive list.