Reading, PA (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton Mets swept the Reading Fightin Phils in a doubleheader on Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed six innings in a 2-1 win in the opener, while Wilfredo Tovar blasted a go-ahead three-run homer in a 7-3 victory in the nightcap. Binghamton cut their magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to four with the victories.
GAME ONE – B-Mets 2, Fightin Phils 1
Major League rehabber Daisuke Matsuzaka tossed six strong innings and contributed with a run-producing walk to lead the Binghamton Mets to a 2-1 victory over the Reading Fightin Phils in the opener.
Reading starter Jesse Biddle kept the B-Mets in check through three scoreless innings before falling apart in the fourth. The southpaw opened the frame by issuing walks to Brian Burgamy and Jayce Boyd. Darrell Ceciliani cashed in by chopping an RBI single up the middle. Three batters later, Biddle hit Wilfredo Tovar and walked Matsuzaka, forcing in another run. Mike Nesseth took over for Biddle and recorded the final out of the inning, defusing the threat.
Matsuzaka cruised through his first four scoreless innings, needing just 38 pitches to face one over the minimum. Reading’s first threat came in the fifth when Brock Stassi pulled a one-out double down the right-field line. Matsuzaka stranded Stassi by retiring the next two batters to preserve Binghamton’s two-run lead.
The Fightins cracked the scoreboard in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Peter Lavin opened the inning by lifting a double over Kyle Johnson’s head in right field. He took third on a fly out and scampered home with Reading’s first run when Matsuzaka uncorked a wild pitch against Zach Collier. The righty ended the inning without further damage.
Jon Velasquez took over in the seventh and made quick work of the Fightin Phils, posting a perfect frame to collect his first save of the season.
Matsuzaka (1-0) allowed one run on three hits over six innings. He threw 69 pitches while walking none and collecting three strikeouts. Biddle (3-10) was tagged for two runs on four hits over 3-2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out four.
GAME TWO – B-Mets 7, Fightin Phils 3
The Binghamton Mets plated seven unanswered runs, highlighted by a go-ahead three-run homer by Wilfredo Tovar in the sixth, to take the nightcap over the Fightin Phils, 7-3.
The Fightin Phils blasted their way to the lead in the first inning against Tyler Pill. With two outs, Aaron Altherr lifted a 1-1 pitch into the left-field picnic area for a three-run shot. His 14th home run of the season gave Reading their first lead of the series.
Binghamton responded without needing a hit in the third off Reading starter Adam Loewen. Tovar opened the frame with a walk to start the inning and Pill reached safely when Loewen failed to cleanly field his drag bunt down the first-base line. After a walk loaded the bases, TJ Rivera ripped a ground ball through Jake Fox’s legs at third base, allowing Tovar to score. Brian Burgamy followed with a fielder’s choice to third, plating Pill to cut the deficit to one.
Pill settled down after Altherr’s blast, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. The righty cruised through four perfect innings, striking out five additional batters, to cap his night.
After bouncing back with two scoreless innings, Loewen’s fortunes turned quickly when the B-Mets put together a two-out rally in the sixth. The lefty walked Dustin Lawley and hit Xorge Carrillo before facing Tovar. The B-Mets shortstop cashed in on the chance by ripping a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field wall. His second home run of the season pushed Binghamton ahead by a 5-3 score.
Binghamton handed a two-run lead to the bullpen in the sixth. Adam Kolarek registered two outs, but allowed two to reach before handing off to Randy Fontanez. The righty induced Altherr to pop out to first to end the threat.
The B-Mets padded their lead in the ninth. With the bases loaded following two hit batters and a walk, Lawley smoked a 1-0 pitch from Nefi Ogando into left-center for a two-run double.
Fontanez returned for the ninth and worked a perfect inning to notch his second save as a B-Met.
Pill (8-5) struck out six while issuing no walks over five innings in the win. The righty remains unbeaten in his last 15 games as a B-Met. Loewen (2-5) surrendered just three hits, but took the loss.
The B-Mets (76-50) conclude their four-game series against the Fightin Phils on Sunday at 5:05 PM. LHP Steven Matz takes the hill against LHP Hoby Milner.
(Courtesy: Binghamton Mets)