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Fisher Cats drop homestand opener

MANCHESTER — The first-place Fisher Cats faced one of the Eastern League&#';s top strikeout pitchers in their first home game since the All-Star break.

They didn&#';t fare well.

Reading&#';s Austin Hyatt, among four pitchers with 100-plus punchouts, fanned 10 Fishers Monday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. The tally brought Hyatt&#';s K count to 119, and helped the Philadelphia Phillies&#'; Double-A affiliate defeat the Fishers, 3-2.

The R-Phils won their third straight and pulled within 3 games of the Fishers, who announced a paid attendance of 3,694.

&#';I just tried to get ahead with fastballs and finish off-speed,&#'; Hyatt said. &#';Me and (catcher Tuffy Gosewisch) were on the same page all night and it worked real well.&#';

Considered by &#';Baseball America&#'; to own the best changeup in Philadelphia&#';s farm system, Hyatt (8-5) threw seven innings. He allowed one run on four hits.

The 6-foot 3-inch, 205-pound All-Star — Philly&#';s 15th-round selection in the 2009 draft — never struck out the side. But he notched at least one strikeout in every frame.

&#';I&#';ve played (against) him the last two years. The changeup is his best pitch,&#'; said Fishers center fielder Anthony Gose, who went 2-for-4. &#';It moves out and away from hitters. It&#';s a good pitch.&#';

Hyatt was touched for one run in the fourth. Consecutive hits pulled the Fishers (53-41) within 2-1.

Mike McDade started the inning with an opposite-field double to deep left-center. He motored home moments later when Travis d&#';Arnaud (2-for-4, two RBI) singled to center.

Hyatt, however, avoided further damage. He stranded two runners, inducing a flyout by Callix Crabbe and soft inning-ending grounder from Jonathan Diaz.

But the R-Phils (50-45) responded in a blink.

Freddy Galvis slapped a one-out double down the left-field line in the fifth. Matt Rizzotti pulled a run-scoring single to right that produced Reading&#';s second two-run lead and eventual winning hit.

A solid relay on Carlos Rivero&#';s two-out double erased Rizzotti at the plate. Gose fired to Diaz, whose throw settled in d&#';Arnaud&#';s mitt well ahead of Reading&#';s slugger.

Joel Carreno (7-7) issued a pair of walks in the first inning. Both free passes by the Fishers starter, who K&#';d six over six innings, turned into runs for the visitors.

Stephen Susdorf&#';s single scored Galvis, whose base on balls opened the game. Derrick Mitchell&#';s hit delivered Rizzotti, who also reached via walk.

&#';Every game in our division is important because everybody&#';s close,&#'; said Fishers manager Sal Fasano, whose team is 2-4 since the All-Star Game. &#';We can&#';t let too many series slip away.&#';

GAME 2 of this three-game series matches Fisher Cats righthander Chad Jenkins (2-2, 4.02) against Reading righty J.C. Ramirez (7-9, 4.22). First pitch at the ballpark tonight is 7:05.

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