The Phillies (2-3-1) jumped out to a lead and then held off the host Tampa Bay Rays for a 5-4 victory this afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida. The win snapped a 3-game Grapefruit League losing skid for the Phils.
Kevin Slowey got the start for the Phillies and went a strong 3 hitless, shutout innings. He struck out one Rays batter in his 2nd consecutive strong outing. Joely Rodriguez followed with a pair of innings over which he allowed just one hit, and he was followed by Elvis Araujo, who walked on in a single shutout inning.
Phillies insider Jim Salisbury quoted Slowey on his performance: “For me, again, the most important thing is getting ahead and throwing strikes and being willing to let your defense do the work.“
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Meanwhile, the Phillies had jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning when Freddy Galvis‘ single off Rays young stud pitcher Chris Archer scored Cody Asche with the game’s first run. That 1-0 score would remain in place through six full innings.
Odubel Herrera, who saw his first action at 2nd base, followed with a forceout grounder that scored Chris Nelson with the 3rd Phillies run. He was followed by Brian Bogusevic, whose single to center scored Andres Blanco to put the Phillies up 4-0.
The Rays got a pair back in the bottom of the 8th inning off Phillies reliever Cesar Jimenez thanks to some sloppy defense. The Phils committed a pair of throwing errors, one each by Bogusevic and Nelson, and the lead was cut in half at 4-2.
In the top of the 9th, the Rays own sloppy defense in the form of a throwing error by shortstop Daniel Robertson helped stretch the Phils lead out to 5-2.
The overall sloppiness continued in the bottom of the 9th when Blanco’s error put the Rays leadoff man on base. A double and a fielder’s choice ground out scored two runs and cut the Phils lead down to 5-4, but that was as close as Tampa Bay would get.
On Monday, the Phillies will travel to Sarasota to take on the host Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Ryan Howard, who the Orioles have been reportedly interested in this spring, will be in the lineup.
Aaron Harang is expected to make his first start on the mound for the Phils in the 1:05pm game. There is no local radio or TV coverage for this one, which will only be available at MLB.com for those with internet access.