READING, Pa. — It was a productive weekend for the Portland Sea Dogs, who won a series for the first time this season – on the road, no less.

Their bid for a series sweep against the Reading Fightin Phils fell short, however, as a two-run rally in the ninth inning Sunday wasn’t quite enough to prevent a 6-5 loss.

Reading (13-9) scored in every inning from the fourth through the eighth to open a 6-3 lead.

The Sea Dogs (9-14) threatened in the ninth when Mike Miller and Carlos Asuaje drew two-out walks off reliever Stephen Shackleford and Jantzen Witte rapped a two-run double – his fourth hit of the game. But Oscar Tejeda was called out on strikes to end the game.

Still, the Sea Dogs may have taken a step in the right direction.

“If we can play this way, it will help us the rest of the season,” said Portland Manager Billy McMillon. “We have done that earlier this season. There have been some competitive games we have lost.”

Sea Dogs starter Luis Diaz left the game after Reading took a 4-3 lead on Brian Pointer’s RBI single in the sixth. He worked a season-high 5 2/3 innings and threw 95 pitches, allowing four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Reliever Madison Younginer allowed two runs over the final 2 2/3 innings.

Diaz helped the Sea Dogs bullpen get some much-needed rest after Saturday’s 4-1 win, when starting pitcher Justin Haley was forced out of the game because of an injury after just one-third of an inning.

“Luis (Diaz) got us through the first six,” said McMillon. “We had a great effort from our bullpen from (Simon) Mercedes and (Jonathan) Aro (Saturday), and we want our starters to go as far as they can.”

Keury De La Cruz put the Sea Dogs ahead 3-2 in the top of the fifth when he lofted a double to left that scored Witte.

But Reading again battled back – for the third time in the game – and tied it on Brock Stassi’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth.

Tony Thomas, a former Sea Dog, doubled with two outs in the sixth and scored Pointer’s single, ending Diaz’ outing. Aaron Altherr added an RBI single in the seventh, and Pointer homered in the eighth to make it 6-3.

Portland opened the scoring in the second. Reed Gragnani hit a dribbler in front of the plate for an infield hit and advanced to second when catcher Logan Moore threw wildly to first base. Blake Tekotte then ripped a double to right.

Reading tied the game in the bottom half when Art Charles doubled and eventually scored on Harold Martinez’s groundout.

In the third, Witte blasted a 2-1 pitch from Ben Lively over the left-field wall for his second homer of the season. Charles answered with a home run to right-center in the fourth.

NOTES:  Shane Victorino may be joining the Sea Dogs when they return home Friday for a three-game series against New Britain. Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell said Victorino will be ready for a rehab assignment by the weekend, and it would likely be in Portland because Triple-A Pawtucket will be on the road. Farrell wants Victorino to play Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday. …

Witte had three RBI for the fourth time this season and has hit safely in 15 of 21 games. He leads the team with 22 RBI. De La Cruz is second with 11. … The Sea Dogs entered the game with just six home runs as a team. Only Akron (5) has fewer in the Eastern League.