DUNEDIN- The Blue Jays dropped a 9-7 contest on Saturday afternoon to the Philadelphia Phillies, a game that featured a solid mix of major league and minor league players. Bengie Molina drove in two runs in the defeat, while John-Ford Griffin blasted his first home run of the spring. The pitching was not great for Toronto, but some highlight included shutouts being thrown by Casey Janssen, Ryan Houston, Brian Reed and Tracy Thorpe.
Josh Towers started the game for Toronto, and after an easy 1-2-3 inning, Ryan Howard led off the second with a fly ball double. Howard came around to score two batters later on a groundout.
In the bottom of the second the Jays got on the scoreboard with a solo home run by John-Ford Griffin, the outfielder that led the Blue Jays organization in home runs last season.
Shaun Marcum made his first appearance of the spring in relief of Towers, and allowed two runs in his inning of work.
The Jays got three more runs in their half of the third on a two run double by Bengie Molina, and a sacrifice fly by John McDonald. Wayne Lydon singled with Jason Phillips at second base, however, right fielder Chris Roberson threw out Phillips for the final out.
Ismael Ramirez started the fourth inning and also allowed two runs, after opening the inning issuing back-to-back hits.
Casey Janssen made a much anticipated appearance in the top of the fifth inning, and retired three of the four batters he faced on ground balls in the infield. Janssen got Shane Victorino to ground out to first, and after an infield single by Chris Roberson, the right-hander got Abraham Nunez to ground out to third, and Ryan Howard to ground out to first base.
The Jays got a run back in the fifth inning when Jason Phillips drove in Eric Hinske on a sacrifice fly.
Ryan Houston made an appearance in the top of the sixth inning, and barely broke a sweat on the mound. Houston got Shawn Garrett to foul out to third, struck out Sal Fasano, and got Matt Kata to fly out to right field.
Ricky Romero, the Jays’ 2005 first round draft selection, made an appearance in the seventh inning, and had a rough time. The first batter he faced, Bobby Scales, reached first on a throwing error by Kevin Barker. After Romero recorded a pop out, Shane Victorino smoked a two run homer to left field, and Chris Roberson followed that up with another home run to left. The trouble continued for Romero as he allowed a double to the next batter, Marc Tugwell, and after recording a strikeout, allowed an RBI single, before getting out of the inning.
Brian Reed and Tracy Thorpe followed Romero with a scoreless inning each. Thorpe was solid on the mound as he recorded two strikeouts.
Wayne Lydon had two more hits on the day and has raised his spring average to .500. Ryan Roberts had his first run batted in this spring, while Miguel Negron recorded his first hit of the spring. Shortstop Luis Figueroa went 2-for-4 in the defeat.