Phillies offense silenced again vs. Blue Jays

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard tosses his bat after striking out against the Blue Jays in a spring training game on Thursday, March 27. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. – This is not the way the Phillies intended to say goodbye to Florida.

The Phillies (9-17-3) fell 3-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays (14-13) on Thursday at Bright House Field and closed out their spring training schedule in Florida with more errors than hits in their final two games.

While A.J. Burnett threw five strong innings, the offense mustered only one hit and the defense committed two errors against the Blue Jays. In a 1-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, the Phillies had two hits and two errors.

Burnett, scheduled to start Tuesday against the Texas Rangers, allowed one run on three hits and struck out six. The run came in the fourth inning when Emilio Guerrero, pinch running after Jose Bautista singled, stole second base, reached third when Carlos Ruiz’s throw rolled into center field and scored on a sacrifice fly.

Jimmy Rollins had the Phillies’ lone hit, a leadoff single to left field off Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchinson in the bottom of the fourth, but was stranded when Chase Utley (.175 this spring), Ryan Howard (.238) and Marlon Byrd (.315) all flew out. Hutchinson pitched 5 1/3 innings, struck out three and walked three.

After back-to-back walks to Howard and Byrd, the Phillies were in position to score the first run of the game in the second, but Ruiz grounded into a double play and Cody Asche grounded out to first base.

A seven-pitch bottom of the seventh inning encapsulated the Phillies’ lifeless offense over the past couple of days. Howard struck out looking at three straight fastballs from Casey Janssen. Reserve outfielder Clete Thomas also struck out looking at three pitches, and catcher Koyie Hill grounded out to first base on the first pitch.

Jonathan Pettibone relieved Burnett in the sixth inning and made his first Grapefruit League appearance as he recovers from inflammation in his right shoulder. Pettibone, a candidate earlier in the spring for the starting pitching rotation, retired five of the first six hitters he faced. With two outs in the seventh, he allowed a walk and a single but escaped trouble when Moises Sierra struck out looking.

After hitting .226 in Florida, the Phillies head to Philadelphia to play the Pirates in a two-game exhibition series that begins 7:05 p.m. Friday at Citizens Bank Park. Kyle Kendrick (4.09 ERA) takes the mound for the Phillies against Charlie Morton (1.13 ERA). Roberto Hernandez (5.29 ERA) faces Gerrit Cole (6.17 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. Saturday.