Phillies again fall to the Tampa Bay Rays, 15-7
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jonathan Papelbon, recovered from a cold, showed that his pitching is on the mend too. The Phillies $50 million closer pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his first appearance since March 1. But other than Papelbon, the bullpen failed to stop runs from scoring. The Tampa Bay Rays topped the Phillies 15 – 7 on Saturday afternoon in Clearwater.
The weather warmed up to the mid-70s after a brisk week, and Phillies fans packed Bright House Field. A record 11, 022 attendees watched the slugfest. The Rays only outhit the Phillies 16-14 despite the lopsided final.
The Phillies never led in the game. Following two scoreless innings, fifth starter John Lannan struggled in the third. Sean Rodriguez blasted a two-run home run to cap a four-run inning. Lannan allowed five hits in four innings and struck out three.
Ryan Howard thumped his fourth homer of the spring to cut the deficit to 4-1. It was the only run given up by Tampa starter Jeff Niemann, who went 3 2/3 innings and allowed four hits.
Papelbon made his return in the fifth. A cold had kept him from the mound for a week. He induced two easy fly balls before striking out Rodriguez. The expensive reliever struggled in his two other spring appearances, giving up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings. This time it was the rest of the Phillies bullpen that looked dreadful.
Chad Durbin gave up a run, two hits and a walk in the sixth. Antonio Bastardo couldn’t make it out of the seventh inning. The first five batters reached base against Bastardo. He permitted four runs (one unearned) in two-thirds of an inning. JC Ramirez replaced him to end the inning with a fly out. The Rays led 9-4.
B.J. Rosenberg only could make one out in the eighth inning. He surrendered five runs, four earned. Kyle Simon gave up a run before closing out the eighth. Jake Diekman pitched a scoreless ninth, along with JC Ramierz who also did not allow a run as he squeezed in a 1/3 run.
The Phillies twice closed the deficit to within a couple runs. They scored three off Jeremy Hellickson in the sixth to cut the lead to 5-4. Philadelphia counted three more off Alex Colome in the seventh inning to make the game 9-7.
Humberto Quintero and Ben Revere both finished 3-for-4. Quintero led the team with three RBIs. Revere added an RBI of his own and raised his average to .351. He’s been leading off in place of Jimmy Rollins, who’s attempting to provide some offense for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Cody Asche, Laynce Nix and the hot-hitting Domonic Brown all had two hits. Brown’s average bumped up eight percentage points to .432 for the spring.
Cole Hamels will start against Houston on Sunday in Kissimmee, before the Phillies get the day off Monday.