HARTFORD, August 23— Bret Boswell had four hits and Brian Serven drove in three runs as the Hartford Yard Goats kept their slim Eastern League playoff hopes alive with a 6-2 victory over the Reading Fightin’ Phils Friday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Playing as Los Chivos de Hartford on Roberto Clemente night, Hartford escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth inning, when Yard Goats reliever Scott Griggs nailed down his 15th save getting EL All-Star Darrick Hall to ground out to second base.
Earlier in the inning, catcher Serven picked off a Reading runner at third base. The victory enabled Hartford (30-31 second half) to keep its slender playoff hopes alive, moving to within 5½ games of first place Reading with 11 games to play. The teams have two more head-to-head matchups on Saturday and Sunday here in Hartford.
Yard Goats pitcher Brandon Gold (11-5) earned his team-high 11th win of the season. The right-hander, tied for second in the Eastern League in wins, allowed two runs on three hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out four.
Hartford relievers Mitch Horacek, Alexander Guillen, Jordan Foley and Griggs held Reading scoreless. The Fightin’ Phils have managed just seven hits in two games against Yard Goats pitching.
After Reading (36-26 second half ) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI-single by Alec Bohm, Hartford bounced back on a single by Boswell and a two-run homer by Serven into the left-field seats, his eighth homer of the year.
Reading’s Luke Williams tied the game, 2-2, with a homer in the sixth inning off Gold, but Hartford took the lead for good in the sixth against Fightins’ starter David Parkinson. A leadoff walk to Manny Melendez proved costly, as Colton Welker followed with a one-out double and Boswell delivered an RBI-single. Serven’s sacrifice fly doubled the lead to 4-2.
Hartford tacked on two seventh-inning insurance runs on the 14th home run of the season by Vince Fernandez – Hartford’s 100th of the year – and a wild pitch, scoring Mylz Jones.
Boswell had a double, three singles, an RBI and run scored to pace Hartford’s 11-hit attack. Bohm had two of Reading’s five hits.
The attendance marked Hartford’s 45th sellout of the season and 23rd straight. It was also the 27 standing-room-only crowd, lifting the season attendance to 375,456. Game three of the four-game series is Saturday at 6:05 p.m. Right-handed pitcher Antonio Santos will pitch for Hartford, while RHP Adonis Medina will hurl for Reading.