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Ben Lively goes four innings, and Phillies rally past Yankees

Matt Breen, Staff Writer

Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2018, 4:25 PM

Ben Lively pitches in the first inning against the Yankees.

TAMPA — Ben Lively pitched three solid innings before running into trouble in the fourth, and the Phillies staged a late rally Thursday to top the Yankees, 7-6, in Grapefruit League action at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Pedro Florimon singled home Danny Ortiz with two outs in the eighth for the winning run. The Phillies had trailed, 6-1, after five innings.

Here’s a look at the game:

The starter

Ben Lively: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

This was another audition for Lively, who is among the finalists for the final spot in the starting rotation unless the Phillies acquire a starter. Lively was decent, but pitched too often to contact. He had a few long outs in the first few innings before Didi Gregorius tagged his four-seam fastball for a two-run homer. Lively has not been afraid to pitch inside.

“You have to,” Lively said, “especially against those big guys like [Giancarlo] Stanton and [Aaron] Judge. You have to pitch inside because once they know you’re going to come in on them, it opens up everything on the outer half and that’s where they look in the outer half. So once you establish that inside corner, they’re thinking both ways and you can do whatever you want throwing strikes.”

Three things

Dylan Cozens doubled in the sixth inning off lefthander Wade LeBlanc, giving the slugger something to hang onto as he struggles this spring. Cozens struck out in his first two at-bats and has whiffed 12 times in Grapefruit League play. He struck out in 36 percent of his plate appearances last season at triple A. His sixth-inning double, especially because it came against a lefthander, could provide some hope.

Andrew Knapp threw a runner out at second base in the first and doubled in the sixth. The catcher’s defense looks improved this spring, and the Phillies could have two strong arms behind the plate if they enter the season as expected with Knapp and Jorge Alfaro.

Tommy Hunter retired just one of the four batters he faced. He entered in the middle of the fifth after Seranthony Dominguez ran into trouble. Hunter walked Greg Bird and gave up singles to Stanton and Gary Sanchez before he ended his outing by getting Gregorius to fly out. Hunter has allowed three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings this spring. The Phillies will need to rely on him out of the bullpen once the season starts.

Up next

Jerad Eickhoff will start Friday for the Phillies against the visiting Pirates. The game, which will begin at 1:05 p.m., will be aired by NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus.

Matt Breen, Staff Writer

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