With home runs from Jose Lozada and Tim Pahuta, Harrisburg opened up a 4-1 lead and survived a late Reading charge to win, 5-4.
Starter Paul Demny got the win despite just one clean inning and retiring the leadoff batter twice, as the redheaded Texan struggled with his control and allowed seven hits and four walks over five and 2/3rds innings.
His teammates, however, picked him up early as Lozada cranked a one-out solo shot, his second home run of the year to give the Senators an early 1-0 lead. He would single twice in subsequent at-bats to push his batting average to .312, riding an 11-for-24 stretch since being inserted in the #2 spot in the lineup a week ago.
Reading would tie it in the 3rd with a walk, groundout, a wild pitch and and one-out single from former Nat farmhand Tug Hulett.
Tim Pahuta would get the lead back for good in the 4th with a moonshot about 20′ to the right of the Metro Bank Park scoreboard and about 5′ short of clearing the outfield boardwalk — his third HR in seven days.
Two more runs came in the 5th with Eury leading off with the second of his three line-drive singles to center, Lozada pushing him to third with a single and Pahuta smacking an opposite-field flyball deep enough for the 21-year-old centerfielder to score and Lozada deftly moving up to 2nd on lousy throw from the outfield. Chris Rahl skipped a grounder through the 5/6 hole to send in Lozada and open up the lead to 4-1.
Demny was chased in the 6th after giving up a single, homer, and a two-out walk to the #8 batter (the second time for that sin). Both managers made their move, with John Wathan calling for a pinch-hitter and Matt LeCroy summoning Kevin Pucetas.
The big, fashionable man won the matchup and set down eight of nine, four by way of the K, and gave way to Erik Davis in the 9th after Jeff Mandel pinch-hit for him in the 8th.
Devin Ivany tripled to lead off the 6th and came in to score on Perez’s third hit and that insurance run loomed large after Davis gave up a leadoff single and a one-out double to put the tying runs in scoring position. An infield single plated the fourth Reading run then a wild pitch put the go-ahead run at second.
LeCroy ordered an intentional pass to Tug Hulett and Davis escaped the jam with SS Chris McConnell taking the grounder, stepping on second, and tossing across to Pahuta for the game-ending DP.
The loss breaks a two-game skid for Harrisburg and pushed them to within three games of first-place Akron. The two second-place teams meet again this afternoon for Game 3 of the four-game series, with Mandel (4-3, 3.40) taking the hill for the Senators against Reading’s Trevor May (5-2, 4.10).