By SAMUEL BOTWINICK | Staff Writer
February 28, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
The Phillies have been faced with a unique problem thus far this Spring. They have scored enough runs to win games, but their pitching has been lax at best, allowing at least three runs early in games to opposing teams.
In the last two games this was too much of a deficit for them to overcome. Friday, though, the Phillies were able to come back and win 10-6 against the Tigers thanks in large part to contributions from Jimmy Rollins.
The game didn't start easy for the Phillies, though. Kyle Kendrick, as well as the two previous Phillies' starters, didn't have full command of their pitches at the outset of the game. Friday was more of the same.
After yielding a single to Tigers' left fielder, Andy Dirks, Kendrick walked the next two batters to load the bases for third baseman, Nick Castellanos, who emptied them with a double to center, giving the Tigers an early 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Phillies were able to put one of those runs back on the board when Darin Ruf singled to center to score Marlon Byrd from second. Byrd led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on Carlos Ruiz's walk.
The Phillies took advantage of a pitching change in the third and opened up the game considerably. Jhan Marinez came on in relief of Jose Alvarez, who gave up just the one run to Ruf in two innings of work.
After Rollins walked to start the third, Chase Utley singled to center, putting runners on first and second. Following another Ryan Howard strikeout, Byrd singled to left to load the bases.
This is when things got out of control. Domonic Brown reached on a force attempt, missed catch error by Tigers' shortstop, Hernan Perez, which allowed Rollins to score from third, and allowed the other runners to each advance one base.
The trouble was just getting started for the Tigers' pitching staff, though. After Ruiz was hit by a pitch to force Utley home from third, Maikel Franco walked, to allow Byrd to score as well.
Then things got wild. With Ruf batting, Marinez threw an errant pitch, which enabled Brown to score. Following a Ruf ground-out, which scored Ruiz, Jose Valdez came in to clean up Marinez's mess.
The switching of pitchers move backfired for the Tigers, though. Tony Gwynn walked, and following that, Rollins crushed a 2-2- pitch from Valdez into the right field seats for a three-run bomb, to give the Phillies a 9-3 lead, which they would not relinquish.
Pitchers on both teams were able to settle down a bit until the sixth inning. After Luis Garcia replaced Phillippe Aumont, who pitched a scoreless fifth, Garcia allowed a single to Austin Jackson. Following an error by Reid Brignac, which allowed Tyler Collins to reach, and sent Jackson to third, Castellanos doubled to the right field corner to score Jackson. Trevor Crowe, then grounded out to third, which enabled Collins to score. The next batter, Luis Exposito, hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Castellanos, and make the score 9-6, Phillies.
The only Phillies' pitchers to surrender any runs were Kendrick and Garcia. Kendrick allowed three earned runs on two hits in two innings, while striking out three and walking three. Garcia yielded three runs, one earned, on three hits, in one frame.
Sean O'Sullivan notched the win in relief, tossing two innings of no-hit ball, while punching out three batters.
Marinez got the loss, allowing six runs, three earned, on two hits, while striking out one and walking two, in 2/3 of an inning.
News and Notes: The Phillies will look to win consecutively when they play the Yankees tomorrow at 1:05 p.m.