May 5—Tuesday's game
Game recap: Other than a leadoff homer by Arquimedes Gamboa, Reading's 54th season opener was rather forgettable.
The Fightin Phils took an early lead, but things fell apart in the middle innings with a pair of defensive breakdowns opening the floodgates for the Erie SeaWolves' 12-4 victory in a Double-A Northeast League opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Fightins got three homers, from Gamboa, Luke Miller and Dalton Guthrie, but they were all solo shots and dwarfed by three Erie home runs, which accounted for eight runs.
The SeaWolves took the lead for good in the fifth when Reading right fielder Matt Kroon, a corner infielder with limited time in the outfield, made a long running bid for a shallow fly ball only to see it glance off his glove, allowing two runs to score and Erie to take a 4-3 lead.
An inning later, pitcher Julian Garcia had a chance for a double play on a comebacker to the mound. His throw to second skipped past the bag, opening the door for what became a four-run inning. Dylan Rosa capped it with a three-run homer.
Jacob Robson's two-run homer gave Erie the lead in the second. Yariel Gonzalez's three-run shot in the eighth made it 12-4.
Ethan Lindow's first Double-A start was long forgotten by that point. He went three innings, allowing two hits and two runs, both on Robson's homer. He struck out four.
Gamboa walked twice in five plate appearances.
"It's awesome to see him get off to a great start," said Reading manager Shawn Williams. "He hammered that first ball, then had some really good at-bats. All five of them were really good at-bats."
Player of the game: Reading center fielder Matt Vierling had a double and two singles and was robbed of another hit on a terrific sliding catcher by Erie center fielder Riley Greene. He also drove in a run.
Quotable: "It doesn't get any better than (Opening Day). I say it all the time, Opening Day is like Christmas Day. I think it meant a little bit more because of having the extra time off. It was just great to see baseball, great to see the fans there, and just to see all of our guys get after it for all nine. Obviously it didn't end up how we wanted, but it's one game. It's the first game. For me, I saw a lot of good things. To see those guys getting after it and playing extremely hard was awesome." — Reading manager Shawn Williams.
Phillers: Prior to the game, the Fightin Phils announced that beginning June 1 stadium capacity will return to 100 percent following Gov. Tom Wolf's announcement earlier in the day... Official attendance for Tuesday's game was announced at 2,620; the in-park total was 2,257... Reading starter Ethan Lindow went just three innings and threw 61 pitches; the Phillies have said they're going to be cautious with their pitchers' work load this season... The plan was for Lindow to go four innings, but he was pulled because of his high pitch count, according to manager Shawn Williams... Arquimedes Gamboa homered just three times in 113 games in Reading in 2019... Julian Garcia took the loss, allowing six hits and six runs, three earned, over 1 2/3 innings... Garcia had a 6.28 ERA in six Double-A starts at the end of the 2019 season... Ethan Evanko was the only one of five Reading pitchers to toss a clean inning. He retired the side in order in the fourth, with a strikeout... Former R-Phils and Philadelphia Phillies Mark Leiter Jr. and Ricardo Pinto are pitching for Erie.
On deck: The Fightins and SeaWolves continue the four-game series Wednesday at FirstEnergy Stadium at 7:05. Francisco Morales, a member of the Philadelphia Phillies' 40-man roster, takes the mound for Reading; it'll be his Double-A debut.
— Compiled by Mike Drago