HARTFORD, August 24 – Riding the electric fastball of pitcher Antonio Santos, the Hartford Yard Goats kept their slender Eastern League playoff hopes alive with a 9-4 win over the Reading Fightin’ Phils Saturday night before a standing-room only crowd of 6,850 at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
With a second straight win over Reading, the Yard Goats (31-31 second half) moved to within 4½ games with 10 games left to play. Reading is now 36-27 in the second half of the season. Trenton won the first half of the season in the Eastern Division to clinch a playoff berth.
Santos (2-3) topped out his fastball at 99 mph. In six innings, he allowed two runs on four hits, walked one and struck out seven. His only bad pitch was a hanging slider to Cornelius Randolph which resulted in a two-run home run in the fifth, tying the game at 2-2.
Hartford broke the contest open with seven runs in the sixth inning against Reading starter pitcher Adonis Medina and two relievers. The Yard Goats sent 12 men to the plate in the inning. In the sixth, Mandy Melendez and Tyler Nevin delivered back-to-back, two-run doubles to highlight the inning.
Nevin led Hartford’s 10-hit attack with two doubles and three RBI. Carlos Herrera added two, run-scoring doubles, while Mylz Jones and Melendez each had two hits.
The sellout crowd gave Hartford 46 sellouts, including 24 straight, with five home dates left. The Yard Goats have also played to 28 maximum crowds and have drawn 382,306.
The finale of the four-game series is Sunday at 1:05 p.m. LHP Matt Whitehouse will pitch for Hartford against RHP Julian Garcia for Reading.