Akron, OH -- First baseman Jesus Aguilar had two RBI’s as the Akron Aeros defeated the Reading Phillies, 10-4, Sunday afternoon at Canal Park.
With the win, Akron took two of three games against the R-Phils, lowering the team’s magic number for clinching the Eastern League Western Division to 10.
Trey Haley (3-0, 1.74) picked up the win in relief. Haley worked two innings and allowed one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out three.
Aeros starter Paolo Espino pitched the first six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. All three runs came on two home runs allowed in the first and third innings. Espino left with the lead before rain delayed the game, but the Phillies (67-60) tied the game against Haley in the top of the seventh.
“[Espino] made a bad pitch to Ruf, [who’s] a good hitter,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “Other than that, he threw the ball real well. He made two mistakes and got hurt by both of them but otherwise a really solid outing.”
The Aeros (75-51) scored four times in the second inning against Reading starter Adam Morgan. With runners at first and third, catcher Roberto Perez hit a RBI single to left. Davis Stoneburner followed with a two-run triple to right. The final run came when third baseman Carlos Rojas executed suicide squeeze bunt to drive in Stoneburner for a 4-2 lead.
“It’s a play we put on every so often,” said Tremie. “Rojas did a great job of getting it down and Stoneburner ran it well.”
In the bottom of the seventh, the Aeros rallied against reliever Julio Rodriguez (6-7, 4.15) to take the lead. Second baseman Matt Lawson doubled with two outs to extend his hitting streak to six games. Left fielder Thomas Neal followed up with a routine ground ball to first baseman Darin Ruf, but Ruf’s flip to Rodriguez at the bag was misplayed. Lawson scored from first on the play to give the Aeros the lead. After a walk to designated hitter Chun Chen, Aguilar doubled to left-center to drive in Neal to increase the Akron lead to 6-4.
“You try to take advantage of walks and errors,” said Tremie. “A lot of credit to both Lawson and Henry for scoring on balls that were plays at first.”
Aguilar had two runs batted in for the Aeros and also drew two walks. He has reached base four times in his last two games.
“It’s a good sign anytime you put up a quality at-bat,” said Tremie. “[Aguilar]’s got 15 at-bats right now, that’s a very small amount of at-bats, but I like what I’ve seen from him so far and I think once he gets a little more comfortable I think he’ll be fine.”
Akron scored four more in the eighth, all without a hit, to take the game out of reach at 10-4.
The Aeros will hit the road Monday to start a three-game series at Erie at 7:05 p.m. Lefty T.J. House (7-3, 3.43) will start for the Aeros against SeaWolves right-hander Patrick Cooper (2-8, 5.26).
Notes: Jesus Aguilar suffered a foot injury on the final play of the game but walked off the field unassisted. … Cole Cook made his Akron Aeros debut, pitching a perfect ninth. … Announced attendance: 6,472.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.