READING, Pa. — Portland Sea Dogs shortstop Deven Marrero calls Mookie Betts his “little brother.”
They played together last season at Class A Salem, and this year with the Sea Dogs.
They spent the first two months of this season playing side-by-side as the keystone combination on the Eastern League’s best team.
On the day Betts got called up to the major leagues, Marrero celebrated by hitting a ninth-inning home run that gave the Sea Dogs a 4-3 win over the struggling Fightin Phils at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“(It’s exciting) just to see him do his thing and now get a chance to live out his dream,” Marrero said of Betts. “I can’t wait for the world to see who Mookie Betts really is. They’re gonna love him.
“That’s my goal, to be up there and help the Boston Red Sox win. That’s what I strive for every day and that’s what I want to do, be in the major leagues.”
The way he’s playing, the 23-year-old Marrero, in just his second full professional season, might not be far behind Betts.
He continued his torrid June and came up with the clutch hit the Sea Dogs (53-27) needed after the Phils (33-44) dug out of a three-run deficit and tied the game 3-3 with three runs in the sixth inning off starter Mike Augliera.
The Sea Dogs homered four times in a game for the first time this year. Dave Chester hit his second homer since being promoted to Double-A in the second inning; Derrik Gibson hit his first of the season in the third; and streaking Sean Coyle blasted his ninth homer in the fourth. Marrero’s homer was his fifth.
“I was just trying to get on base right there,” Marrero said. “I got lucky and the ball just left my bat pretty good and it played that wind, so it was nice.”
Marrero singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
The 2012 first-round pick out of Arizona State has pushed his average to .298 by hitting .390 with three home runs and 11 RBI in June. He said he wasn’t looking to go deep when he stepped up to lead off the ninth against Seth Rosin.
“I was just looking to get on base, just get the rally started and try to put a good at-bat together,” he said. “I fought a couple pitches off, I just worked the guy a little bit, and he just left me something there and I just took a whack at it and it went over.”
Augliera lost his previous two starts against the Phils, allowing 10 earned runs in 11 innings. He was better this time, taking a four-hit shutout into the sixth.
In the sixth, he surrendered a leadoff walk to Carlos Alonso, a triple to Peter Lavin and a run-scoring groundout to Kelly Dugan. Aaron Altherr tied it with his sixth homer of the season.
NOTES: Aaron Kurcz picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief. His streak of 16 straight batters retired, over three outings, ended when he hit Aaron Altherr with a pitch in the ninth. … The Sea Dogs have not been as high as 26 games above .500 since the final day of the 1995 season, when they were 86-56. … Keury De La Cruz tied a franchise record Friday with five hits. … The 13 walks drawn Friday night were a season-high for the Sea Dogs. They were all issued to the top five batters in the lineup.