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Phillies fall late despite help from Utley, Howard

First baseman launches first spring homer in tightly contested loss

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Willy Garcia's two-run single in the eighth snapped a 4-4 tie as the Pirates downed the Phillies, 6-5, in spring baseball with a comeback fueled by Minor Leaguers and non-roster players.

Philadelphia entered the eighth with a 4-2 lead on Chase Utley's go-ahead single in the fifth and a solo homer in the sixth by Ryan Howard.

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Right-hander B.J. Rosenberg pitched an uneventful seventh, but he immediately fell into trouble in the eighth on leadoff singles by Robert Andino and Brent Morel. Michael Martinez's RBI single preceded a walk of Mel Rojas Jr. to load the bases, then Junior Sosa's sacrifice fly tied the score ahead of Garcia's single.

The Phillies loaded the bases in the ninth and cut the lead to 6-5 to on Cesar Hernandez's walk, but a double play ended the game.

Howard connected in the sixth against right-hander Jay Jackson for his first homer since July 5 -- the last game in which he played last season prior to being sidelined with inflammation in his left knee -- to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead.

Chase Utley had singled off reliever Mark Melancon to snap a 2-2 tie in the fifth.

Phillies starter Jeff Manship gave up two runs in four innings, on Andrew McCutchen's first-inning homer and an RBI single in the third by Neil Walker. Manship didn't issue a walk while fanning three.

Brandon Cumpton became the first Pittsburgh pitcher this spring to go beyond the third inning, allowing two unearned runs and two hits in four innings.

After giving up seven runs (four earned) in his first three spring starts covering 6 2/3 innings, Cumpton finally pitched up to the promise he showed during this big league debut in 2013. In fact, he ended the season with 15 straight scoreless innings, tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the Majors.

Up Next: Veteran left-hander Cliff Lee will make his fourth Grapefruit League start when the Phillies take on the defending world champion Boston Red Sox on Saturday night at JetBlue Park. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen on MLB.TV. Lee has allowed just one walk, striking out 10 in 8 2/3 innings so far this spring.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.

Philadelphia Phillies, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley