On a night when the Reading Fightin Phils had one of the Phillies‘ finest rehabbing, pitching was the story all around.
Phillies’ starter Ranger Suarez started the game for the Fightins in his first appearance during a rehab stint. Ranger was a key player for the Phillies in their 2023 playoff run.
Things start strongly for Reading
The southpaw looked good in the first inning. His first pitch was a fastball clocked at 94 MPH. Ranger recorded the first out himself as he made a slick play to throw out the hitter at first. He got 2021 #1 overall pick Henry Davis to strikeout looking for the 2nd out. Domingo Leyba singled to right field with 2 outs on a ball that looked like it could’ve been caught. Ranger got a weak ground ball to the shortstop to end the inning. He topped out at 95 MPH.
The Reading Fightin Phils threatened in the bottom of the 1st. Oliver Dunn singled and Carlos De La Cruz walked to set men at 1st and 2nd with 1 out. The Altoona Curve escaped unharmed. Starter Sean Sullivan set the tone for his team as he would shut down any threat while he was on the mound.
Suarez went back out for the 2nd. He walked Mason Martin on a full count. Ranger immediately induced a 6-4-3 double play. He got a fly out to centerfield to end the inning. He again topped out at 95 MPH. He threw 27 pitches. 17 for strikes.
Tyler Phillips entered the game for Ranger and thrived. Phillips kept the Curve quiet for 5 innings, allowing just 2 hits and a walk. He struck out 5. His performance dropped his season ERA to 3.31.
Reading got its first run in the 8th inning. Oliver Dunn drew a walk with 1 out. He advanced to 2B on a Carlos De La Cruz grounder. Wendell Rijo broke his 0/3 and drove Dunn in with a single.
The Reading Fightin Phils struggle to close out the game
Trouble brewed in the 9th inning. A walk and then a single just over Dunn’s glove set the Curve up. Catcher Max McDowell made a mental error on a sac bunt, allowing the bases to be loaded. Connor Scott made him pay with a sac fly to tie the game 1-1. Max Kuhns walked the next batter to load the bases back up. After a full count, Kuhns rung up the next hitter for the 2nd out. He walked Davis with the bases loaded on a full count to give the Curve their first lead of the game.
Taylor Lehman entered the game in relief. An infield single by Domingo Leyba would push the score to 3-1.
Tanaj Thomas entered the game for the Curve and walked the first 2 hitters for the Fightins. A wild pitch moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd with no outs. A grounder to 3rd couldn’t bring home a runner. One out. After his gaff in the top of the inning, McDowell singled to bring the score to 3-2.
Madison Stokes got caught napping off of 3rd after a line out to the shortstop to end the game, leading to Reading dropped its 13th game of the season.
“We played a good game throughout 8 innings. Late in the game, again, we failed to execute,” said Reading Manager Al Pedrique. “It’s a learning process.”