The Portland Sea Dogs trailed 3-1 in the eighth inning Wednesday, but Mookie Betts led off with a walk and appeared to have stolen second base.

But he slid past the bag and was tagged out.

“Just kept sliding,” Betts said.

It was that kind of game for the Sea Dogs in their 3-2 loss to the Reading Fightin Phils on a frigid night at Hadlock Field.

Portland scored once in the ninth on Henry Ramos’ two-out, RBI single. But he was stranded when Derrik Gibson struck out.

The two teams are scheduled to play at 11 a.m. Thursday, if the rain holds off.

Wednesday’s game stayed mostly dry, but the 40-degree temperature did not make it comfortable.

The Sea Dogs (15-8) still have the best record in the Eastern League, percentage points ahead of the Trenton Thunder (16-9), who were rained out Wednesday night in New Hampshire.

Betts entered Wednesday’s game leading all minor leagues in batting and improved that average to .430 by going 2 for 3. His on-base percentage also jumped to .481 as he also walked.

Betts opened the first with a single and scored on Deven Marrero’s RBI double.

That 1-0 lead looked like it might hold up with Portland left-hander Mickey Pena on the mound.

While he stranded at least one runner in every inning – six in scoring position – Pena did not allow a run. He gave up four hits and two walks, striking out seven.

“I was mixing in pitches well and getting ahead of hitters,” Pena said.

But Pena’s pitch count hit 92 and he left after five innings.

Meanwhile, Reading’s Severino Gonzalez was shutting down the Sea Dogs. Gonzalez, 21, of Panama, is the Phillies’ No. 4 pitching prospect. After facing Betts and Marrero in the first, he allowed only three more hits in seven innings.

“Fastball command was the big thing and he put away hitters with his slider,” Reading catcher Logan Moore said.

Randy Scott (2-1) relieved Pena and gave up his first runs of the season, one each in sixth, seventh and eighth.

In the bottom of the ninth, Stefan Welch led off with a walk, reached second on a groundout and scored on Ramos’ single.

NOTES: Betts has a 17-game hitting streak, eighth all time among the Sea Dogs, one behind Brett Roneberg (2004). Victor Rodriguez (1998) and Kevin Millar (1997) share the longest streak at 21 … Betts tied Millar for the most Sea Dogs hits in April (40) and is chasing Millar for one more record. Betts has reached base in 52 straight games, counting back to last year. Millar and Kevin Youkilis share the minor league record with 71 … The announced paid attendance was 3,019.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

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Twitter: ClearTheBases