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Joseph's homer backs strong start by Velasquez

March 27, 2017

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- First baseman Tommy Joseph hit a two-run homer and right-hander Vince Velasquez struck out seven over five strong innings in the Phillies' 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.Joseph went 4-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and two RBIs.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- First baseman Tommy Joseph hit a two-run homer and right-hander Vince Velasquez struck out seven over five strong innings in the Phillies' 7-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Joseph went 4-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and two RBIs. His big blow came in the top of the fifth, when he unloaded on a pitch from Toronto closer Roberto Osuna and sent it well over the left-center-field wall for his third homer of the spring. Freddy Galvis added a pair of hits and two RBIs, while Howie Kendrick scored both times he reached base.
Velasquez earned the victory for the Phillies after limiting Toronto to one run on five hits. He has tossed at least five innings in back-to-back starts, as he appears ready to open the year as Philadelphia's No. 5 starter.
"It's been a strong, healthy, successful Spring Training," Velasquez said after his final spring start. "All the results from that, I'll take that any day. Health over anything." More >
Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez had some command issues in his penultimate outing of the spring, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks. He struck out two, but a high pitch count held him to 3 1/3 innings.
Sanchez has allowed 11 runs over 10 2/3 innings this spring, but he will have one more outing before he starts Toronto's fifth game of the regular season.
"I liked everything pretty much all night," said Sanchez, who threw 71 pitches. "I felt like I stuck some pretty good fastballs, both two-seam and four-seam. I threw some really good curveballs. I threw some changeups that broke some bats that I got some ground balls on. I'm leaving extremely happy in terms of putting it all together. I would like to have gone a little longer, but I threw a lot of pitches in the second and third innings, which didn't allow me to do that." More >
Toronto started a potential Opening Day lineup. Catcher Russell Martin provided its lone run with an opposite-field homer, his first of spring, and Jose Bautista added a double.
Osuna made his first Grapefruit League appearance since returning from the World Baseball Classic. He has been hampered for nearly a week because of a sore neck/upper-back injury, which was believed to have been caused by a poor mattress. He has since bought a new bed, but there were some early struggles, as he surrendered the two-run shot to Joseph during his inning of work.
"He's working on some things," Martin said. "He's still going outside a little bit of what he normally does attacking hitters. He has been working on a two seamer … and really in that situation to Joseph. The pitch was in a good spot, had some decent action on it. I was more impressed with the swing. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the hitter."
Phillies up next: Aaron Nola (0-2, 6.62 ERA) makes his last start of Spring Training on Tuesday when the Phillies welcome the Blue Jays to Spectrum Field in the final night game of the spring at 6:35 p.m. ET. Nola has allowed eight runs and 10 hits over his last 10 1/3 innings.
Blue Jays up next: Right-hander Marco Estrada (0-1, 3.46 ERA) will make his final start of the spring when the Blue Jays visit the Phillies on Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. ET. Estrada was named Toronto's Opening Day starter earlier this week, so he will take the mound again on Monday for the opener in Baltimore.
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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.