Published March 17, 2010
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Jayson Werth hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to break open a tie game, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Yankees 6-2 on Wednesday.
The home run was the second of the spring for Werth, a first-time All-Star last year who can become a free agent after this season.
Werth, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard all finished 2 for 3 and combined for three runs and four RBIs.
"I know we're going to hit; it's only a matter of time before we get real sharp and get going," said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, whose team has won seven of its last eight games.
Manuel has been equally impressed with his starting pitching. After three turns through the rotation, four starters have ERAs below 2.00.
Right-hander Joe Blanton lowered his spring ERA to 4.09 by holding the Yankees to two earned runs in five innings. Blanton struck out three and walked none.
"Blanton used all of his pitches and he had good command," Manuel said. "Blanton was good today. Hamels was good yesterday. Halladay was good (Monday). Things are starting to kind of come together."
Werth's go-ahead homer came off of left-handed reliever Damaso Marte, who was making his spring debut. Marte's last game action also came against the Phillies in last year's World Series.
Marte was perfect in four games during the Series, striking out five in 2-3 innings. On Tuesday, each of the four Phillies he faced reached base.
A half inning after Nick Johnson's sacrifice fly tied the game at 2, Rollins and Shane Victorino led off the top of the fifth with back to back singles off Marte. Werth followed with a blast into the right field bleachers before Howard hit a line drive back to the mound that pegged Marte in the back.
"Howard knocked him out, that's figuring him out," Manuel joked initially. "No, I'm sorry the guy got hit and I hope he's not hurt. But he pitched real good against us in the World Series, he was aggressive, he threw strikes."
Andy Pettitte, making his Grapefruit League debut, surrendered two runs on five hits in four innings. Rollins doubled off Pettitte to begin the first inning and came around to score on a two-out, opposite field single from Howard.
"You can't (simulate) the Phillies batters standing in there," said Pettitte, who had appeared in two simulated games prior to Wednesday. "They've got a real good team, so it's a real good challenge for me to start trying to make pitches to that lineup."
Joba Chamberlain kept his hopes of landing the fifth starter job alive with three sharp innings of relief for the Yankees. Chamberlain, among five pitchers batting for the job, along with Phil Hughes, gave up one run on two hits. He struck out three and walked one. Chamberlain lowered his spring ERA from 27.00 to 16.20.
"I feel great, I went back to having fun," Chamberlain said. "I felt really aggressive. It's just one of those things where once you feel it, you continue to build from that."
NOTES: Philadelphia 2B Chase Utley was out of the lineup for the second straight day. A team representative said Utley had an upper respiratory illness. Utley took batting practice before the game and will likely return to the lineup following Thursday's scheduled off-day. ... Phillies 3B Placido Polanco will "more than likely be able to play Friday," according to Manuel. Polanco sprained his right knee while attempting to catch an infield fly on the mound Monday. ... LHP J.C. Romero threw to hitters for the first time since September with no reported problems. Romero had elbow surgery in October. ... A record crowd of 10,640 fans flooded into Bright House Field for the St. Patrick's Day, World Series rematch matinee. The Phils kept their holiday tradition alive by wearing green hats and jerseys.