READING, Pa. – It may have been a case of Bye Bye Birdie for the Trenton Thunder, and Scranton has Greg Bird now, but the Thunder bats did not stop raking.
Before a more-than-capacity crowd of 9,767 at First Energy Stadium, the Thunder kicked-off their roadtrip against the Reading Fightin Phils with a 9-2 victory Saturday night.
The Thunder worked Mark Leiter Jr. for 43 pitches in the first inning and scored just one run, but Leiter Jr. wouldn’t be much longer for the game after being taxed in the first inning. With two outs and none on, Jake Cave singled before lengthy walks were issued to Gary Sanchez (14 pitches), Mark Payton (9) and Tony Renda (7) to force in a run for an early 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, Trenton added three more runs off Leiter Jr. before he was lifted with one out. After 2.1 innings he was charged with four runs on six hits and three walks and needed 70 pitches in the losing effort. Trenton’s starting pitcher Eric Ruth meanwhile, saw his pitch count climb to 98 over five innings, but he improved to 6-1 on the season with the Thunder.
Sanchez began a four-run 5th inning with a solo home run which was his 10th of the season- giving him homeruns on consecutive nights. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Danny Oh laced a triple past center fielder Drew Heid to clear the bases and turn a 5-1 game into a much more comfortable 8-1 margin.
The win is Trenton’s eighth win in the last 10 games and the team’s third in a row. During the current three-game winning streak, the Thunder have now scored 30 runs and are batting 43-for-116 (.371 AVG) in that time. With the win, Trenton has a two-game lead over Reading and Binghamton in the East Division which is its largest lead for first place on the season.
The Thunder and Fightins return to action Sunday afternoon with a 1:35 p.m. first pitch matinee. Trenton send RHP Brady Lail (4-3, 2.40) to the mound against RHP Colin Kleven (1-0, 1.50) for Reading. Pre-game coverage begins at 1:20 p.m. on 91.3 FM WTSR or online at www.trentonthunder.com.