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Reading victory pushes Yard Goats to brink of playoff elimination

Warren Schaeffer and the Yard Goats fell to Reading on Sunday, 5-1.

HARTFORD, August 25 – Reading pitcher Julian Garcia baffled the Hartford Yard Goat hitters with an assortment of breaking balls to compliment his sneaky fastball to lead the Reading Fightin’ Phils to a 5-1 Eastern League win Sunday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

With the win, Reading (76-55, 37-27 second half), which has the best overall record this year in the Eastern Division, is one win away from clinching a spot in the Eastern League playoffs. Hartford (68-62, 31-32 second half) trails Reading by 5½ games with nine left to play.

Reading never looked back, after taking a 1-0  lead in the first inning against Hartford left handed pitcher Matt Whitehouse.  Luke Williams opened the game with a double to left-center and scored on Josh Stephen’s single.

Whitehouse’s lack of control hurt him in the third inning, as he walked Reading’s Stephen and Darick Hall, who scored on RBI-singles by Cornelius Randolph and Jose Gomez for a 3-0 lead. Randolph had a home run, single and two RBI to lead the Phils.

Hartford scored its only run in the third on a walk to Whitehouse, a passed ball and Vance Vizcaino’s RBI-double to right.  The Yard Goats managed just three base runners over the final five innings. Pitchers batted in the game since both franchises are National League affiliates. Hartford is the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies while Reading is the Philadelphia Phillies’ Double A squad.

The Fightin Phils added single runs in the sixth and seventh on a sacrifice fly by Williams and Randolph’s home run, his eighth of the season and second in two games. Garcia (2-1) worked five innings and gave up just one run. He allowed four hits and struck out five.

Whitehouse fell to 4-4 with the defeat, permitting three runs on five hits over four innings.  He walked four and struck out four.  Tyler Nevin had two of Hartford’s six hits.

It was the 47th sellout of the season and 25th straight for Hartford, which has one more sellout than last year.  The Yard Goats lead the EL in attendance with 388,987.

Hartford starts its final home series of the season on Monday at 7:05 p.m. against the Harrisburg Senators, the Western Division’s first-half winner.   Matt Dennis will pitch for the Yard Goats against RHP Tyler Mapes for Harrisburg.  It will be First Responders Night and a 2020 Magnet Schedule giveaway.

The Washington Nationals’ affiliate will also be in town for a twi-night doubleheader on Tuesday at 6:05 and single games on Wednesday and Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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