TRENTON, NJ – The Reading Fightin Phils used 15 hits to grab a 7-1 win over the Thunder in front of 6,626 fans at ARM & HAMMER Park on Tuesday night. Philadelphia Phillies rehabbing 2B Chase Utley, playing the first of two games against the Thunder, went 1-for-3 with two runs scored for the Fightin Phils.
The Fightin Phils took an early 2-0 lead on a two-run home run off the bat of LF Destin Hood in the top of the second inning. While the Thunder offense responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the second, they were unable to grab a lead and saw the Fightin Phils extend their advantage in the fifth.
Utley began the Reading rally in the fifth with the first of back-to-back singles with Brock Stassi. Andrew Knapp drove in Utley and Stassi with a double to put Reading ahead 4-1 and end the night for Thunder starter Caleb Smith.
Smith, who saw his record fall to 5-6, allowed four runs on eight hits and one walk in 4.2 innings pitched.
Reading put the game away with three runs across the seventh and ninth innings against the Thunder bullpen. Newly-acquired RHP Jake Thompson fired seven innings of one-run ball for the victory in his Fightin Phils debut.
With the win, Reading has a one game lead in the East Division Wild Card race. The Binghamton Mets hold a 2.5 game lead ahead of the Thunder following play on Tuesday night.
1B Dante Bichette Jr. went 2-for-3 in his return to the Thunder lineup. RF Mark Payton is 5-for-9 over his last two games played as he added two hits and scored the lone run of the game for the Thunder.
Your Thunder will look to bounce back on Wednesday night at ARM & HAMMER Park. The Thunder will send RHP Eric Ruth (6-3, 2.68), Reading will send RHP Ben Lively (7-7, 3.99). The first 2,000 fans, age 14 and up, will receive Dellin Betances Bobblehead dolls, presented by Hyundai. Tickets to all Thunder home games are available at Trentonthunder.com and by phone at 609-394-3300.
Prior to the game, RHPs Taylor Garrison and Rookie Davis joined the Thunder from Tampa, as did IF Dante Bichette Jr.