Senators Unable to Hold Lead in Whiting’s Debut, Fall to Reading, 13-5

Soto and Perez both homer for Senators in loss

The Harrisburg Senators led 4-1 after six and a half innings Thursday, but could not protect the lead in a 13-5 loss to the Reading Fightin’ Phils Thursday in front of a big crowd at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Senators (42-36) have lost three of their last four games while allowing 41 runs in that span.

Senators’ starter Boone Whiting threw well early on, allowing just one unearned run in his first six innings of work while his teammates began to build him a lead.

Neftali Soto led off the second inning with a monster home run over the seats beyond the left field wall for his team-leading eighth long ball of the season. In the third inning, Rafael Bautista singled, stole second (his league-leading 35th steal) and scored when Wilmer Difo dumped a single into center field.

Harrisburg added a run in the fifth when Stephen Perez doubled and scored on a Bautista RBI single. Soto doubled with one out in the sixth and scored on an RBI single to right field by Drew Ward.

However, with Harrisburg leading 4-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Whiting walked two batters and allowed an RBI single while getting just one out before being relieved by Ryan Brinley. Following an RBI bloop single by Reading’s Jorge Alfaro that cut the Senators’ advantage to 4-3, the Fightin’ Phils took the lead on a three-run home run by Dylan Cozens.

Whiting finished with 6.1 innings pitched in his Senators’ debut, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out six.

Stephen Perez hit his first home run of the season in the Senators' loss. (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Stephen Perez hit his first home run of the season in the Senators’ loss. (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

After Reading added to its lead with back-to-back homers to start the bottom of the eighth inning, Brinley hit Reading’s Jake Fox with a pitch, and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Rich Grassa. Senators manager Matt LeCroy was then also ejected after an extended argument regarding Brinley’s tossing. Reading went on to score seven runs in the eighth inning as Rhys Hoskins hit a grand slam.

In the ninth inning, Perez drilled his first home run since August 8, 2015 – a solo shot to left. Perez finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Bautista and Soto each finished 2-for-4 while Isaac Ballou had a three-hit game for the Senators, which finished with 11 hits as a team.

Harrisburg and Reading will play the second of four games on Friday night, beginning at 7:05. Tyler Mapes will take the hill for Harrisburg against Reading’s Tyler Viza. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:50 p.m.

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