In this trying season for the Portland Sea Dogs, a few individuals have stood out.

Left-handed starter Kyle Hart has been dependable. He entered Thursday night’s game with a 2.51 ERA, ranked third in the Eastern League.

And Hart has been hot, allowing five earned runs in his previous six starts.

But seven batters into Thursday’s game, Hart and the Sea Dogs trailed by five runs.

The deficit was too much as the Reading Fightin Phils completed a four-game sweep with a 9-1 romp over the Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field.

Portland (26-45) managed only three hits, including a solo home run from Nick Lovullo. Reading (31-40) recorded 11 hits.

Hart (5-4) recovered, finishing six innings. He gave up only two more hits after the first inning, but one was a two-run home run by Zach Green in the third.

“It was a high change-up,” said Green, who has faced Hart in four games this season. “When you face a guy like that a lot of times, it’s like a chess game. The last time he got me chasing a lot of fastballs in. This time, I did a good job taking some pitches and making contact on others.”

Hart’s final line was eight hits, a career-high seven runs, one walk and five strikeouts. His ERA bumped to 3.18.

“He threw pretty well if you take away the first inning,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Paul Abbott said, looking at the box score.

“He gave up (the first) hit on a change-up, then another on a change-up, then a hit on a slider, then a curveball, then a double on his slider.

“That first inning, he was leaving his secondary pitches up. He couldn’t put them away with anything.”

This was Hart’s eighth start since he had to leave a game May 1 after being struck in the left arm by a line drive. In the previous seven, he was 4-1 with a 1.37 ERA. Included in that streak were two wins over Reading, when he allowed two runs in each.

Meanwhile, Reading had one of the Phillies’ top pitching prospects on the mound. Lefty JoJo Romero (5-5), a fourth-round draft pick in 2016, pitched a three-hitter over seven innings – one of them Lovullo’s homer over the left-field wall in the third – walking three and striking out six.

Josh Taylor, the reliever Boston obtained in the Deven Marrero trade with Arizona, started the seventh inning and allowed two runs. He exited with the bases loaded, but Trevor Kelley got a flyout to center – an impressive running catch by Tate Matheny.

NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 5,917. … The Yankees’ Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder, comes to Portland on Friday for a three-game series. The traditionally strong Thunder were 41-29, heading into Thursday night’s late game. Dillon Tate, one of the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, will start Saturday’s 6 p.m. game. … In alumni news, former Sea Dogs first baseman/outfielder Nick Longhi was promoted Thursday to the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate in Louisville. Longhi was traded to Cincinnati last year for international amateur signing bonus pool space.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-7411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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