Final: Philadelphia Phillies 6, Tampa Bay Rays 3 ❖ Attendance: 8,286
Clearwater, FLA — The Philadelphia Phillies (8-11) pulled off a comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Rays (7-10) this afternoon. The Phils allowed three runs in the third inning, but after that, the Rays didn't score again. Non-roster invitee Drew Hutchison made his first start, going 2 and 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on three hits and striking out five. Most impressive was 2017 Paul Owens Award winner Tom Eschelman, who threw 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and struck out four.
The Phils' bats chipped away at the Rays' lead from the third inning on and their persistence ultimately handed them the 'W'. Maikel Franco got the first hit of the game for the Phils in the fourth inning in the shape of a no-doubt-about-it homer. Rhys Hoskins also had a clutch hit that resulted in a RBI. However, it was a ninth inning walk-off three-run bomb by Jesmuel Valentin that made the offensive efforts worth it.
WP: Ranfi Casimiro (1-0, 0.00 ERA) ❖ LP: Austin Pruitt (1-2, 3.18 ERA)
The bats for both teams were quiet until the third. Rays shortstop Daniel Robertson led off the inning with with a homer to right field. Kean Wong followed with a walk. One out later, Denard Span hit a bomb over the right-center field to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. Kevin Kiermaier singled on a ball that was deflected by shortstop Roman Quinn. Phils starter Drew Hutchison, who had breezed through the first two innings, was able to strike out Matt Duffy for the second out. However, that marked the end of his outing. Alexis Rivero entered the game and retired C.J. Cron on a fly out for the final out of the inning.
The Phillies started chipping away in their half of the third. Roman Quinn got it started with a lead-off walk. During the at-bat of Andrew Pullin, Quinn easily swiped second base. He advanced to third on Pullin's groundout to first. Andrew Knapp walked to put runners on first and third with one out for Scott Kingery. He grounded into a fielder's choice that could have been a double play, had the Rays' shortstop stepped on second base. However, only the out at first was recorded. That allowed Quinn to score and Knapp to advance to second. Knapp was ultimately stranded, as Carlos Santana grounded out to end the inning. However, the Phils were on the board.
The Phils tacked on another run in the fourth inning. Third baseman Maikel Franco led off the inning with the first hit of the game for the home team: a solo home-run to left field. However, that was all the offense could muster, as Rays starter Chris Archer retired the next three batters in order on a strike-out, a groundout, and another strike-out, respectively.
The Phillies tied the game in the sixth. With two outs, Franco singled to right field. Rhys Hoskins followed with a double to left field that scored Franco from first. Unfortunately, Hoskins was left in scoring position, as Aaron Altherr was retired for the final out of the frame.
It took the Phillies the full nine innings, but they managed to pull out the victory in style. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Adam Rosales singled on a ground ball to second. One out later, Collin Cowgill reached base on a throwing error. This put runners on first and second with two outs for Jesmuel Valentin. He hit a walk-off home-run to right field to hand the Phils a 6-3 victory.
- Denard Span: 1-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, .259 AVG
- Daniel Robertson: 2-2, R, 2B, HR, RBI, .300 AVG
- Kevin Kiermaier: 2-3, .286 AVG
- Jesmuel Valentin: 1-1, R, HR, 3 RBI, .273 AVG
- Maikel Franco: 2-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, .156 AVG
- Rhys Hoskins: 1-2, 2B, RBI, .241 AVG
- Chaz Roe (5th): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 1.59 ERA
- Jose Alvarado (6th): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 1.50 ERA
- Daniel Hudson (7th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 10.80 ERA
- Austin Pruitt (8th, 9th): 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR, 3.18 ERA
- Alexis Rivero (3rd): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Tom Eschelman (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th): 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR, 1.23 ERA
- Aaron Brown (8th): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Ranfi Casimiro (9th): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Wednesday, March 14, 2018: at Atlanta Braves, 1:05 p.m.
- Champion Stadium, Kissimmee, Fla.
- TBA vs. LHP Max Fried (0-0, 7.71 ERA)
- TV: N/A; Radio: MLB.com