CLEARWATER, Fla. — Vince Velasquez turned in a very Velasquez-like outing: 2 1/3 innings, five hits, a walk and a run, disaster averted thanks to five strikeouts.
He froze Russell Martin to strand two runners in the first inning then fanned crafty Devon Travis and got bomber Josh Donaldson looking with the bases loaded to end the second.
“That was huge,” said Velasquez, who moved to 1-2 with a 3.48 ERA this spring. “You put yourself in jam situations, only giving up one run — you’re limiting damage.”
The team was off Thursday and the Phillies split the squad Friday, sending a delegation to Lakewood to face the Tigers as most of the regulars stayed at Spectrum Field. There, three Phils hit their first home runs of the spring. Cesar Hernandez launched a blast to rightfield off Tyler Clippard in the sixth, which went completely out of Spectrum Field and made it 2-1. Backup catcher Cameron Rupp hit a two-run shot in the eighth to centerfield, halfway up the batter’s eye, off Ryan Tepera, which cut it to 5-3. Pedro Florimon led off the ninth with a homer.
Third baseman Maikel Franco went hitless in his first thre at-bats and struck out in the seventh with no outs and runners on first and third, which dropped him to to 3-for-35 (.086) for the spring, which elicited boos from the bipartisan crowd of 8254 at Spectrum Field. He then singled in the ninth.
Lefthander Hobie Milner struck out the side in the fourth … Mark Leiter Jr., a candidate for an extra starter’s spot or for long relief, gave up four runs in three innings. … Danny Ortiz, who pinch-ran for Franco, was picked off second base to end the game when he was slow getting back on a flyball to right field. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler called it a “teachable moment.”