For the second straight day, the focus at Waterfront Park was on two rehabbing Phillies. Shane Victorino and Brad Lidge each took another step towards returning to Philadelphia as they helped the Reading Phillies defeat the Trenton Thunder 4-3 to earn a series split.
After a dominating 13-2 win the previous night, Reading looked like they were on their way to another lopsided victory in the top of the first.
Victorino, playing center field, led off the game with what looked like a home run to left field, but third base umpire Tim Rosso ruled that it went just foul. Victorino, apparently unaware of this, reached third base before finding out it was just a foul ball.
“I thought it was over, but obviously the umpire didn’t,” said Victorino after the game. “I appreciate the fact that they let me trot around the bases until I got to third base.”
Victorino ended up drawing a leadoff walk and would score the game’s first run. On a hard hit single to right field by shortstop Freddy Galvis, Victorino advanced to third base. During Michael Spidale’s at bat, Galvis was picked off first base. During the ensuing rundown, Victorino broke home and scored when Thunder shortstop Jose Pirela’s throw home went wide.
Galvis advanced to third, and he scored when Spidale followed with a single. Matt Rizzotti singled and Steve Susdorf reached via hit by pitch, but a Fidel Hernandez double play would end the inning with no further damage.
Manny Banuelos of the Thunder was named the 13th best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America earlier this week, but it didn’t show today.
Command is supposed to be one of his strengths, but with a season high five walks plus a hit batsman, he wasn’t himself today. In the first inning, Reading hitters were able to square up his pitches and make great contact.
He started the sixth inning, but after a leadoff walk to Derrick Mitchell and a Susdorf high chopper over the head of third baseman Addison Maruszak, Trenton manager Tony Franklin called for the bullpen.
Despite the struggles, Banuelos had at least one fan in Victorino.
“He looked good. He’s got good velocity. When he works around his fastball and hits his spots, he has very good secondary pitches with his changeup and his curveball. He’s someone that’s going to be in the Yankees rotation unless he’s traded. I think he’s going to be a very good left handed pitcher.” Victorino was 1 for 2 with a single, walk and strikeout against Banuelos.
Banuelos did settle down in the middle innings. He began locating his fastball on both sides of the plate, and Reading batters couldn’t help but chase his plus plus changeup as it dove out of the zone. He finished with six strikeouts in five innings plus two batters. In innings two through five, only three batters reached base.
Defense was not on display in this game with errors and misplays contributing to five of the game’s seven runs. In the bottom of the second, Trenton got on the board after a leadoff double by outfielder Melky Mesa dropped down in right field after hanging in the air for a long time. Two batters later, Pirela grounded to third, and Reading third baseman Fidel Hernandez wasn’t able to hold Mesa at second before getting the out at first. Outfielder Damon Sublett followed that with a ground ball to Rizzotti, and Mesa came home to score when Sublett beat Reading starter B.J. Rosenberg to the base.
In the 8th inning, rehabbing closer Brad Lidge made the same mistake as Rosenberg, although it was inconsequential to the final result. Trenton outfielder Zoilo Almonte hit a ground ball fielded by Rizzotti to his right, but Lidge didn’t leave the mound until it was much to late.
“That’s called not being out there for a while,” said Lidge after the game.
“He made a good play, and I wasn’t there, and that won’t be happening again.”
Lidge was pitching in back to back games for the first time in his rehab, and he was much sharper this weekend than he was on Thursday. “I felt good again today. It was going from a night game to a day game, so it was definitely a test for me, and again I felt pretty good. It was one of those outings where you try to stay under control,” said Lidge. He threw 13 of his 14 pitches for strikes, most of them sliders. He recorded two strikeouts, both looking on front door sliders that he dropped into the strike zone. He allowed two hits, but one was the aforementioned infield single, and the other was a bloop line drive down the left field line off the end of Rob Lyerly’s bat.
Reading took the lead for good in the sixth inning. After Banuelos was removed from the game after the first two runners reached base, reliever Chase Whitley came on and surrendered a single to Fidel Hernandez. Mitchell scored, and Mesa’s throw was wild. Susdorf broke for the plate as Whitley retrieved the ball and threw it to catcher Austin Romine. Susdorf appeared to get under the tag, but home plate umpire Travis Hatch ruled him out. Two innings later, Susdorf did manage to score. Two batters after his one-out double, Paco Figueroa hit a ground ball mishandled by Thunder second baseman Corban Joseph, allowing the run to score. In the ninth, Trenton pulled within one and got the tying run in scoring position, but closer Justin Friend struck out Joseph to secure the win.
Reading starter B.J. Rosenberg struck out eight in 5.1 innings pitched while allowing one earned run on four hits, two walks and two hit batters. Jacob Diekman, working at a sidearm angle from the left side, followed Lidge in the 8th inning and allowed a run in 1.1 innings with four strikeouts.
Freddy Galvis, Mike Spidale, and Steve Susdorf each had two hits. Terry Evans pinch hit for Victorino in the ninth and finished the game in right field.
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