The Fightin Phils’ scoring drought reached 15 1/3 innings with Thursday night’s 3-0 loss to the Thunder at FirstEnergy Stadium in the Eastern Division Championship Series. Trenton scored three times in the tenth, beating up on the Reading bullpen for the second night in a row, this time after starter David Parkinson tossed seven scoreless innings. On offense, the lineup stranded two runners in the first, fourth, and eighth, and now need three straight wins on the road to survive and advance with game three coming up from Arm & Hammer Park on Friday night.
Parkinson’s only true threat came in the first inning, when he put a pair of runners aboard courtesy of an Isaiah Gilliam double and a four-pitch walk to Chris Gittens with first base open. Starting with a groundout from Alexander Palma to retire the side, the 10-game winner retired 15 straight until Gilliam singled with two outs in the sixth inning.
Thunder starter Rony Garcia also put two on in the first when Luke Williams led off with a single before stealing second base. Two batters later, Alec Bohm worked a one-out walk, only to see Garcia get the next two outs with a popout and a strikeout. In the third, Mickey Moniak snuck a two-out double into center field, but Garcia got Bohm to pop out to catcher Brian Navaretto for the final out.
With one out in the home fourth, Josh Stephen and Cornelius Randolph went back-to-back with singles, signaling the end for Garcia and the start of a dominant night from the Thunder bullpen. Left-hander James Reeves got the next two outs, and then retired the side in order over the next three frames to finish with six strikeouts over three-and-two-thirds.
Facing left-hander Trevor Lane in the eighth, the Fightins had their final chance with the game still scoreless. Williams drew a five-pitch walk and ended up at second when Moniak’s grounder was mishandled by Gittens at first base. Two pitches later, Bohm knocked a single back up the middle and center fielder Rashad Crawford came up throwing to nab Williams at the plate and keep the game scoreless.
Parkinson, like Spencer Howard in game one, delivered seven superb innings and surrendered just his third and final hit when Palma reached on an infield single in the seventh. After recording the last two outs, Jakob Hernandez came though with a perfect eighth, adding two strikeouts before handing the ball off to All-Star closer Addison Russ for the ninth.
Both teams got a runner to second base with two outs in the ninth, but were unable to score, sending the game into the tenth inning. The Thunder jumped ahead right away when Kyle Holder led off with a home run to right, and after a walk to Max Burt, Navaretto doubled to make it 2-0. A fielder’s choice and an error brought in the final run, giving Thunder closer Daniel Alvarez the opportunity to retire the Fightins in order for the save and a commanding 2-0 series lead.