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Regulars getting more at-bats in spring games

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies used a lineup Wednesday that seemed pretty close to their Opening Day lineup.

It included Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Santana, Jorge Alfaro, Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Altherr in the first five spots in a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field, with every other projected starter also in the lineup. Alfaro is unlikely to hit third, but the lineup provided a nice reminder that the 2018 season begins in a little more than three weeks.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies used a lineup Wednesday that seemed pretty close to their Opening Day lineup.

It included Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Santana, Jorge Alfaro, Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Altherr in the first five spots in a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field, with every other projected starter also in the lineup. Alfaro is unlikely to hit third, but the lineup provided a nice reminder that the 2018 season begins in a little more than three weeks.

Maikel Franco hit seventh. He went 1-for-2, blasting a single off the right-center-field wall. He is hitting .150 (3-for-20) this spring.

"That line drive to right-center field demonstrates the progress that he has made," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, who is in camp as a special instructor, said before the game that he thinks Franco will click offensively.

"Absolutely it will, but I think it's going to take a little more willingness to -- how do I say this, he has to find that ability to put the ball in play with two strikes more often, the ability to tone it down a little, maybe get a little Joey Votto," Schmidt said. "I'm not saying [he crouches], but more like, 'I have a swing for two strikes to put the ball in play more often to keep the rally going, get that RBI.' Those kind of things.

"I think it's going to take a mental commitment by Maikel to make that happen. You say, 'How are you going to do that?' Well, I'm not going to teach him, but he knows what I think, because we talk a lot. Maikel tends to want to launch a little bit. He gets anxious. But I say it every year, he could be an MVP as easy as anybody this year."

Bold on the bases
Nick Williams, who started in right field, ran 180 feet to score the game-winning run with two outs in the seventh inning on a ball that travelled no more than 10 feet from home plate.

Video: BOS@PHI: Williams scores from second on an error

J.P. Crawford popped up a ball between Red Sox pitcher Kyle Martin and catcher Jordan Procyshen, but it fell between them. Martin eventually picked up the ball and flipped it to Procyshen, but it arrived too late to tag Williams, who never stopped running.

"After the ball dropped, I knew I was going to score," Williams said.

Hoskins also advanced an extra base in the fourth inning when Red Sox center fielder Rusney Castillo bobbled the ball. Hoskins later scored on a wild pitch.

"Both heads-up hustle plays and only happen if we're engaged and bold like we've been talking about on the bases," Kapler said.

No more 'O' for Odubel
Odubel Herrera singled in the fourth inning to snap a 15 at-bat hitless streak to start the spring. He entered camp behind schedule, in part because of a sore right shoulder.

Video: BOS@PHI: Herrera singles up the middle

"For me, the flashes of brilliance on defense stand out," Kapler said. "There were a couple of absolutely amazing reads off the bat. Yes, his bat speed is beginning to come together. He made some good, solid, hard contact today. That's just a timing thing. Sometimes it comes early in Spring Training, sometimes it comes late, sometimes it doesn't come until the season. But a guy with a track record like Odubel, it's not something we concern ourselves with, particularly early in camp."

Nola deals
Aaron Nola allowed one hit and struck out five in four scoreless innings. He allowed five runs in five innings in his previous two starts. Kapler, like everybody else, walked away satisfied with his effort. But not Nola.

Video: BOS@PHI: Nola strikes out five over four innings

"The changeup was kind of mediocre," Nola said. "I threw a few good ones, but I need to get it back to where I want it to be. Pretty quick innings, overall. I felt good. I felt like I was attacking the zone."

Video: Aaron Nola holds Red Sox to just one hit, fans five

Camp battles
Non-roster invitee Drew Hutchison allowed two hits and one run in three innings. He struck out four. He has a 2.25 ERA in eight innings.

"We asked Hutch to mix up his pitch mix a little bit more," Kapler said. "We asked him to focus on some of his secondary pitches. He's really taken to that. Very impressive performance by Hutch."

Up next
Ben Lively, who is competing for the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation, takes the mound Thursday afternoon at 1:05 ET vs. the Yankees. Fans can catch all the action live on MLB.TV.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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