Portland Sea Dogs starter Keith Couch rarely gives up home runs, allowing only one this season before Wednesday.
But Couch gave up two home runs in a four-run second inning as the Reading Fightin Phils beat Portland 5-2 before 4,855 at Hadlock Field.
The Sea Dogs dropped to 85-52. They still lead by two games in the Eastern League East Division with five games to go. Second-place Binghamton (83-54) gave up a run in the ninth inning, then lost 11-7 in 11 innings to New Britain.
Jake Fox began the second inning with a homer off Couch. Two singles and an error brought in a run. Logan Moore came up with two outs and blasted a two-run shot for a 4-0 lead.
The Sea Dogs threatened often against left-hander Adam Loewen, who allowed five hits and six walks over five innings.
Portland loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth but got only one run.
Loewen struck out Sean Coyle, allowed an RBI fielder’s choice to Dave Chester and struck out Stefan Welch.
In the sixth, Mike Brenly’s RBI grounder closed the Sea Dogs to 4-2. But that was all for Portland. The Phils added a run in the seventh.
Couch (8-2) allowed five runs on eight hits (no walks) over 62/3 innings. His ERA rose to 2.96.
Aaron Kurcz (2.03 ERA) and Robby Scott (1.87) added scoreless relief for the Sea Dogs.
NOTES: Pitcher Mike Augliera will return to the rotation after one stint in the bullpen. Augliera (7-10) has been named Friday’s starter, replacing Luis Diaz, who was pushed back with back spasms. He’s expected back soon. … Thursday’s game will begin at 6 p.m. with fireworks following.