Reading Bullpen Hammered in 11-2 Loss

The Reading Phillies lost by a score of 11-2 Wednesday night in front of 6,3,61 fans on Pat Burrelll bobble-head day at Waterfront Park. Matt DeSalvo got the win for Trenton and kept the R-Phils baffled all night. Mike Smith took the loss and fell to 1-4.

Mike Smith did not have his best command, but battled for six innings and only gave up three runs and three hits despite walking three and hitting three batters. The R-Phils only trailed 3-0 when Smith left the game after six innings with the Thunder runs directly caused by his lack of command.

Dee Brown opened the scoring for Trenton with his first homerun since joining the Thunder a week ago. Brown took a 3-0 fastball over the manual scoreboard in right field to peg Trenton to an early 1-0 lead in the second.

The Thunder onslaught continued when Kevin Thompson opened the third with a one-out single to left that was followed by Gabe Lopez being hit in the helmet by a Smith fastball, forcing Lopez to leave the game. J.T. Stotts came in to pinch-run and stayed in the game to play second. No report on Lopez's condition was available after the game. After a wild pitch by Smith, Thompson scored on a sacrifice fly by Melky Cabrera and Stotts scored when the next batter, Shelley Duncan, singled to left to make a 3-0 Trenton lead.

Matt DeSalvo pitched eight solid innings for Trenton, facing the minimum during his time on the hill. DeSalvo allowed only one hit to the Reading lineup and that was an infield single to Carlos Leon in the second. Leon was eventually retired on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double-play. DeSalvo tied his career high with eleven strikeouts and said he managed to baffle the R-Phils lineup without using his curve or forkball. DeSalvo said, "I used my fastball mainly tonight and my slider. I didn't use my curve or my forkball at all." This was by far DeSalvo's finest outing of the season.

Reading manager Steve Swisher was less than pleased with his team's on-field performance, especially the team's lack of offensive production and allowed his team no room for excuses. "Everybody's got a responsibility to their teammates. I don't give a damn if the starter struggled. That just means we have to score more runs." said Swisher. Swisher believes his team, that had won five of their last six and hit a homerun in each of their last seventeen games, will respond though. "If we have the kind of team I think we have, we'll come out tomorrow and be ready to play." said the Reading manager.

The story of the game for Reading really was the monumental collapse of the bullpen, as Trenton scored eight runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined. The bullpen tandem of Felix Villegas and Jeff Wilson could not keep Trenton in check and closed any possibility of a Reading comeback. The Thunder batted around in both the seventh and eighth innings. Reading pitching coach Tom Filer was unconcerned about his bullpen's struggles as they have been reliable most of the season. "We'll be fine." said Filer when asked about his bullpen's ability to bounce back from Wednesday's collapse. Jeff Wilson pitched out of the pen for Reading for the second straight night and command was his biggest problem as he walked three and hit a batter during his inning of work. Three of those four batters came around to score for Trenton in the eighth. The bullpen collapse was potentially costly as Ben Julianel gave the R-Phils two runs in the top of the ninth to end the shutout. Julianel has struggled at home this year and he allowed the Reading Phils to get the best swings they had all night off Thunder pitching. The R-Phils managed only four hits against DeSalvo and Julianel.


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