Right-hander allows seven runs in 3 2/3 innings; Howard tallies two hits
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista homered twice as the Blue Jays overcame a rough start by left-hander J.A. Happ to defeat the Phillies, 11-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Toronto fell behind early but Bautista helped spark a four-run rally in the third with a two-run homer off right-hander Roberto Hernandez. The ball was crushed to left-center field and bounced off the top of Toronto's scoreboard for Bautista's fourth longball of the spring.
Three innings later, Bautista added his fifth of the Grapefruit League season. This time, the two-run shot came off former Blue Jays right-hander Brad Lincoln. Those were the only two hits Bautista would get on Wednesday, but he now has 11 RBIs and eight extra-base hits in parts of 14 games this spring.
It was an all-around good afternoon at the plate for Toronto. Jose Reyes had a pair of hits and scored two runs, Melky Cabrera went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, and Edwin Encarnacion had his fourth double of the spring in another two-hit performance. The 11 runs marked the most the Blue Jays have scored in an official Grapefruit League game this spring.
Hernandez had a rough day on the mound for Philadelphia. He allowed seven of those runs on 11 hits while walking one and striking out two over 3 2/3 innings. He entered the game with an ERA of his 2.03 in 13 1/3 innings this spring, but he saw that number skyrocket to 5.29 following the disappointing start.
Happ wasn't much better for the Blue Jays, as he struggled with a high pitch count and couldn't get out of the third inning. The former Phillies starter was charged with just three runs but issued four walks and allowed three hits while striking out two. He threw 71 pitches, and only 34 strikes.
First baseman Ryan Howard led the way on offense for the Phillies, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. The big blow off Happ came when Ben Revere doubled to the gap in left-center field, as three runs came around to score before the Phillies outfielder was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
Up next: The Phillies have a split squad Thursday. David Buchanan faces the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. The right-hander remains in contention to take Cole Hamels' spot in the rotation while Hamels is recovering from a left shoulder issue. Right-hander Jeff Manship faces the Astros in Kissimmee at 1:05. Manship also could take Hamels' spot in the rotation or open the season in the bullpen as a long man. Both games can be seen live on MLB.TV.