Akron, OH – Jose Ramirez pulled off a brazen steal of home in the third inning Sunday afternoon, and the Aeros went on to defeat the Reading Fightin' Phils, 4-1, to complete a three-game sweep at Canal Park.
It is only the second three-game sweep of the season for the Aeros (59-67), and the first since sweeping New Hampshire June 4-6, also at Canal Park. The Aeros won eight of 10 games against Reading in the season series.
Ramirez turned in the pivotal play of the game in the bottom of the third inning. The Aeros had tied the game at 1-1, on Cedric Hunter's sacrifice fly against lefthander Jesse Biddle (4-13). With Ramirez at third and Tyler Naquin at second base, Carlos Moncrief was batting with two outs. On Biddle's first pitch, Ramirez got a tremendous jump down the line and sprinted for the plate, sliding in just ahead of the throw home from Biddle. It was Ramirez's league-high 37th steal of the season and gave the Aeros a 2-1 lead.
The Aeros extended the lead to 4-1, with solo homers from Moncrief in the sixth and Hunter in the eighth. Biddle worked the first sixth and gave up three runs. Hector Nerris pitched in relief for Reading. After giving up Hunter's home run in the eighth, Nerris hit Jesus Aguilar in the back, and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Billy Cunha.
Aeros starter Brett Brach (8-9) was outstanding, working six innings and holding Reading to one run on five hits. Brach issued three walks and struck out two, and beat Reading for the second time this season. He worked around a bases-loaded situation in the fifth inning, allowing only one run on sacrifice fly by Edgar Duran.
After Brach, three Aeros relievers combined to finish the job. Trey haley, Jeff Johnson and Jose Flores all chipped in one scoreless inning. For Flores, it was his second consecutive save and his team-leading 14th of the season.
Hunter was 3-3, on the day with a homer, double and sacrifice fly. Naquin was 2-4, for his second straight multi-hit game.
The Aeros will begin a three-game road series at Erie on Monday night at 7:05. RHP Will Roberts (7-9, 3.86) will go for the Aeros, while RHP Kelvin Perez (1-1, 4.29) will start for the SeaWolves.