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Altherr homer in eighth sinks Fisher Cats in series opener

MANCHESTER - New Hampshire's Jack Murphy smashed a go-ahead homer in the seventh, only to watch Aaron Altherr homer for the Reading Fightin Phils in the top of the eighth, sending the Phils to a 6-5 series-opening win over the Fisher Cats on Thursday night.

The Fisher Cats entered the seventh down, 4-2, after John Anderson allowed four runs in the top of the fifth inning. The rally started against Reading's starter, Hoby Milner. Mike McDade singled with one out before Milner struck out Cory Aldridge for the second out. A pitching change brought on Nefi Ogando, who served up a 96 mile-per-hour fastball that was tattooed to right by Murphy for a three-run blast and a 5-4 lead. It was Murphy's fifth homer and took Anderson off the hook.

The lead wouldn't last long for the Fisher Cats (52-59). With two outs in the top of the eighth, Randy Boone surrendered a weak, broken-bat single to right field. That set the stage for Aaron Altherr to dump one just over the right-field wall for the go-ahead two-run blast.

Ogando (4-1) earned the victory. He was followed out of the bullpen by Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who struck out two in a perfect ninth.

Michael Crouse also homered for the Fisher Cats, giving New Hampshire an early 2-0 lead with his eighth homer in the second inning.

Murphy's homer was part of a three-hit night. He was joined in the three-hit department by Andy Burns, while Crouse, Matt Newman, and Derrick Chung each had two hits.

Jon Berti added an eighth-inning single to extend his hit streak to eight games.

The Fisher Cats will continue their homestand on Friday night with a doubleheader against the Fightin Phils starting at 6:05. Scott Copeland and Austin Bibens-Dirkx are the scheduled starters for the Fisher Cats.

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