Brown homers as Phils trip Yankees
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Domonic Brown’s chance to contribute is right now. Tommy Joseph’s opportunity should come in due time.
Brown and Joseph hit long home runs in the seventh inning and the Philadelphia Phillies rallied past the New York Yankees 4-3 Tuesday for their first win of the exhibition season.
Brown connected off Zach Nuding, sending his second home run this spring over the batter’s eye in center field. the 25-year-old Brown, once the Phillies’ best prospect, is competing for the vacancy in left field.
“That was a well-struck baseball … the ball went a long ways,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. “He put a good swing on it: nice, short and compact, with balance at the plate.”
“His swing is more fluid and compact,” he said. “It’s more explosive.”
Joseph, a catcher considered by some as the Phillies’ current top hitting prospect, sent a two-run drive deep over the left-field fence. He was acquired from San Francisco last summer in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to the eventual World Series champions.
Ichiro Suzuki went 3 for 3 to lead the Yankees. He legged out an infield single, stole second and scored on Mark Teixeira’s double in the first inning off Kyle Kendrick.
Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick gave up three hits and one run in two innings.
Kendrick, a swingman on the pitching staff in the last three years, has a permanent spot in the rotation for the first time since the spring of 2008, when he was coming off his rookie season.
“It was nice to get out there,” Kendrick said. “I was excited. A little amped up a little bit in the first inning. I felt good. The body felt good. I was throwing mostly strikes.”
New York right-hander Jose Ramirez impressed in his spring debut. The 23-year-old retired five of the six batters he faced.
The only Phillies batter to reach off Ramirez, Ryan Howard, walked to lead off the second and was quickly erased on a double-play grounder.
“The young man was starting his first game, seeing Howard and (Jimmy) Rollins and those guys,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He did a nice job.”
Yankees relievers David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain each pitched a scoreless inning.
J.R. Murphy took over for Yankees catcher Bo Wilson in the bottom of the sixth and went 2 for 2 with a two-run homer and a long double.
Cardinals 15, Red Sox 4
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia returned to the mound for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the playoffs, getting through two scoreless innings as St. Louis beat the Boston Red Sox 15-4.
Garcia was pulled early in the NL division series against Washington with a strained rotator cuff and inflammation.
Garcia kept the Red Sox scoreless, working around three hits and a walk. He threw 43 pitches, 30 for strikes, and struck out two.
Ryan Dempster, who joined the Red Sox as a free agent during the offseason, pitched two hitless innings. He threw 33 pitches, 24 for strikes, and fanned two.
Matt Adams, who had been slowed by tendinitis in his knee, had a two-run, pinch-hit homer for the Cardinals. He later drew a bases-loaded walk.
Braves 9, Nationals 5
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Washington’s Ross Detwiler got in some much-needed work before the World Baseball Classic, while the Atlanta Braves scored five runs in the fifth on the way to a 9-5 win over their division rival Tuesday.
Detwiler pitched two scoreless innings before failing to get out of the third, allowing two runs. The left-hander gave up five hits and struck out two in a game delayed an hour by rain.
The Braves erased a 3-2 deficit against loser Ryan Perry, who allowed Jordan Parraz’s homer and run-scoring singles to Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco. Brandon Mann walked Ramiro Pena with the bases loaded before Joey Terdoslavich closed the big inning with a sacrifice fly.
Atlanta starter Mike Minor gave up two runs in two innings. Dusty Hughes claimed the win.
Astros 9, Tigers 4
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Jason Castro and Brett Wallace each homered for a Houston Astros split squad in a 9-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Wallace had three hits for the Astros. Castro and Rick Ankiel had two hits apiece for Houston.
Robbie Grossman and Trevor Crowe drove in four runs on back-to-back extra base hits in Houston’s five-run fifth inning against Duane Below.
Brayan Pena’s two-run homer off John Ely gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead in the fourth.
Erik Bedard pitched two innings in his first start for the Astros, giving up an unearned run on Wallace’s throwing error.
Doug Fister gave up the two-run home run to Castro in his two-inning start for Detroit.
Bruce Rondon, the Tigers hard-throwing rookie closer candidate, walked two and struck out two before being taken out of the game in the third.
Twins 8, Blue Jays 4
DUNEDIN, Fla. — Justin Morneau is finding his hitting touch early in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.
Morneau had two hits, including an RBI double, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-4.
Morneau and teammate Joe Mauer, both taking part in next month’s WBC, made the 2½-hour trip from Fort Myers.
“Just to get my legs underneath me,” Morneau said. “There’s a big difference between playing five innings and playing nine. Knowing we’re going to start earlier with the WBC, crank it up a little bit earlier.”
Mauer singled and walked twice. He scored on Morneau’s third-inning RBI double.
Morneau, who will be playing for Canada in the WBC, received a nice cheer when he was introduced during the announcement of pregame lineups. The first baseman hit a three-run double in Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday.
Both starting pitchers, Toronto’s Ricky Romero and the Twins’ Mike Pelfrey lasted just 1 2-3 innings in their spring training debuts.
Romero allowed two runs — both coming on Joe Benson’s second-inning homer — and two hits. The left-hander had an arthroscopic procedure during the offseason to clean up his left elbow, and also received platelet-rich plasma treatments to both knees to help the recovery of his quadriceps tendinitis.
“I’m going to use this spring to work on my sinker,” Romero said. “I think that’s basically about 90 percent of what we threw, maybe 95. I’m just trying to get that pitch back and get it under control.”
Romero said his percentage of sinkers thrown last year decreased. He went 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA in 2012, and left his final start of the season on Sept. 30 after three innings due to an injury to his left leg.
Pelfrey gave up three runs and five hits. The right-hander made only three starts for the New York Mets in 2012, a season cut short by elbow ligament-replacement surgery on May 1.
Adam Lind hit a two-run homer off Pelfrey during a three-run first.
Before the game, Toronto manager John Gibbons said a decision on whether J.P. Arencibia will catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey this season will be made after the pair return from the WBC.
Marlins 7, Mets 5
JUPITER, Fla. — Giancarlo Stanton homered on an 0-2 fastball over the plate, a pitch he’s likely to seldom see this season.
The Miami Marlins slugger hit his first homer of spring training in a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets.
Stanton had 37 homers last year and led the NL in slugging. Because he’s one of only two returning starters from opening day 2012 following an offseason payroll purge, he expects teams to pitch around him a lot.
“With less than two outs, they’re probably going to fool around with me a little bit more,” he said.
Stanton got a pitch he could handle against Hansel Robles. Matt Downs also homered off Robles.
Casey Kotchman hit a grand slam in his first at-bat of spring training against Mets starter Jenrry Mejia. Kotchman had been sidelined for the past week after he ran into a pop-up machine during drills and needed four stitches to close a cut on his left ring finger.
Mejia required 30 pitches to get through his one inning and allowed five runs. The right-hander, battling for a spot on the roster, was making his first appearance of spring training.
“I’m sure he was a little anxious,” manager Terry Collins said. “These young guys have to get ready. When you’re trying to make a club, you’ve got to get ready to pitch. It’s a little different when you’re a 10-year veteran. It’s another thing when you’re trying to impress the manager. He just threw way too many balls in the middle of the plate.”
Mets prospect Cory Mazzoni pitched three hitless innings.
“He has been everything I heard about him,” Collins said. “Very impressive.”
Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins’ likely opening day starter, pitched two scoreless innings in his first outing.
Stanton said he wants to reduce his total of 143 strikeouts last year and realizes that will mean taking a lot of pitches. He’s mostly happy with his pitch selection so far in spring training.
“I’ve felt good,” he said. “Today was the first time I was swinging at things I shouldn’t have, but I felt good.”
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