After delay, Blue Jays get best of Phillies

Posted by Kevin Durso

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay wipes his face during the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Clearwater, Fla., Saturday, March 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Roy Halladay allowed two runs on three hits in two innings in his final spring start. (Courtesy of

After today, there are just three games left that count toward the Phillies spring training record. After that, they all count.

Ultimately, you can't take that record to heart, especially with some of the names that are playing for the Phillies right now.

Despite the losing record, the Phillies are getting better. Today wasn't exactly a pitcher's dream as far as weather was concerned, but the offense continues to get better as the season draws closer.

Roy Halladay was making his final tuneup before his start on Thursday for Opening Day. He pitched a perfect first before allowing two runs in the second. The first came on a leadoff home run by Edwin Encarnacion. Another came on an RBI single by Brett Lawrie.

The rains would come soon after that, causing a 36-minute delay.

Once the teams returned, Halladay was done. He pitched two innings allowing two runs on three hits, and also added three strikeouts.

Eric Thames drove in a run in the third off Raul Valdes. Valdes pitched the third and fourth allowing one run on one hit with one walk and three strikeouts.

Hunter Pence got the Phillies on the board in the fourth with an RBI single.

With David Herndon on the mound in the fifth, he allowed a solo home run to Jose Bautista as the only blemish to his game. Herndon also pitched the sixth, finishing with two innings pitched allowing one run on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

Tyler Knigge allowed a run on a sac fly in the seventh, and Jordan Whatcott didn't fare much better. He allowed three runs on three hits, including a two-run home run by Luis Valbuena.

The Phillies would trim the lead in the seventh on a solo home run by John Mayberry Jr., his first of the spring.

The Phillies cut into the lead in the eighth. Juan Pierre drove home a run with an RBI single. Another run scored on a wild pitch. Hector Luna followed with an RBI single to cut the lead to three.

Juan Sosa would pitch a scoreless ninth, but the Phillies couldn't manage anything more, and lost to the Blue Jays, 8-5.

Looking at the box score, the right players are contributing. On offense, Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, Hunter Pence, Laynce Nix, John Mayberry Jr. and Juan Pierre all contributed hits. Hector Luna had another strong game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Perhaps the hottest hitter of the spring is Carlos Ruiz, who went 2-for-2 at the plate today. That brought his average to a whopping .512 this spring.

On the mound, Roy Halladay had good material in his final tuneup and looked ready to go for his first start on Thursday. Additionally, the only other pitcher likely to make the major-league roster is David Herndon – especially in the wake of injuries to Jose Contreras and Mike Stutes – and he looked fine in his two innings today.

There is just one more game in Florida before the Phillies head back home for two more exhibition games in the final tuneup before the season begins. That game is tomorrow against the Atlanta Braves. Cliff Lee is expected to start.

Kevin Durso is a contributor to Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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