TAMPA, Fla. – It took almost four weeks, but the Phillies have their first three-game winning streak of the spring.
Backed by solo consecutive home runs from Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd, six Phillies pitchers combined to shut out the Yankees 6-0 on Tuesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Howard, who walked in his first at bat after falling behind in the count 0-2, was on the verge of walking once again in the third inning when he launched a 3-1 offering from Vidal Nuno over the right field seats. Just three pitches later, Marlon Byrd crushed an 0-2 pitch to dead center to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead. It was Howard's third home run of the spring and Byrd's second.
The Phillies are hitting .295 (81 hits in 275 at bats) over their last eight games. They hit .211 over their first 19 games, lowest in the National League. They are 9-15-3 in Grapefruit League play.
Making his case for an opening-day roster spot, starter Jeff Manship (2-0, 1.80 ERA) pitched four scoreless innings, allowing five hits. He struck out two and didn’t walk anyone.
Two of those hits came in the third inning, when Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran reached on singles to set up first and second with one out. But Manship escaped danger when he got Mark Teixeira to swing and miss and caught Brian McCann looking.
Bobby Abreu returned to the lineup as the Phillies' designated hitter after missing two games with a sore left shoulder. The 40-year-old outfielder got the Phillies on the board in the second inning with a single to right field that scored Carlos Ruiz, who reached base when a ground ball went right through third baseman Kelly Johnson’s legs. Abreu also walked in the game, his 10th base-on-balls this spring.
Earlier in the day, the Phillies and Abreu, a non-roster invitee, agreed to push back his opt-out date to Sunday.
Reliever Mike Adams, recovering from shoulder surgery, made his first appearance of the spring and pitched a scoreless fifth inning. He threw 16 pitches, allowing two hits and striking out one. It was his first major league action since June.
The Phillies return to Clearwater on Wednesday for the first of their final two spring games in Florida. Cliff Lee gets the nod for the Phillies against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 p.m. They play the Blue Jays on Thursday before making the trip to Philadelphia for an exhibition series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.