Phillies fall to Blue Jays, 4-3, in Grapefruit League opener
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Blue Jays struck early and rain struck late in the Phillies' spring opener Wednesday, falling 4-3 to Toronto in a contest halted midway through the seventh inning.
Toronto scored all its runs in the first three innings, while a quartet of relievers held the Phillies to just one hit following a two-run first against starter J.A. Happ. Non-roster invitee Ronny Cedeno doubled home Tony Gwynn Jr. in the fifth to complete the scoring.
Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd had given the Phillies a 2-1 lead with RBI singles in the bottom of the first, when they touched Happ for four hits. Ben Revere and Domonic Brown also had singles in the inning.
But the Blue Jays pounded starter Roberto Hernandez with several hard-hit balls, starting with Jose Bautista's solo homer three batters into the game that went over the back fence behind left field.
In the second, Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus ripped back-to-back doubles off the wall against Hernandez to tie the game 2-2.
Phillippe Aumont (0-1) was even less effective to start the third, walking his first two batters and following that with a wild pitch. Adam Lind drove home Melky Cabrera with a single, and Bautista came home on Rasmus' groundout.
Reliever Todd Redmond (1-0) got the win for Toronto, following Happ to set down the Phillies in order in both the second and third. Chad Jenkins picked up the save by getting the final out of the Philadelphia sixth.
The Blue Jays struck out eight as a staff, including three to end the inning. Carlos Ruiz ended the Phillies' first-inning offensive, and non-roster Clete Thomas went down in the fifth with Cedeno at second.
The teams will meet again Wednesday in Dunedin, where rain again will factor heavily into the forecast. Cliff Lee will throw his first spring pitches for the Phillies, opposed by Toronto's R.A. Dickey.