Romero pitches two scoreless against Phils
Blue Jays can't solve visitors' offerings, but lefty solid in debut
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Shane Victorino recorded a pair of RBIs, while Juan Pierre scored twice as the Phillies defeated the Blue Jays, 7-0, on Tuesday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Philadelphia opened the scoring with a four-run inning in the third off Blue Jays right-hander Rick VandenHurk. Carlos Ruiz got the inning started with a single, which was followed by back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out. VandenHurk then induced a hard ground ball up the middle by Victorino that bounced off the outstretched glove of Kelly Johnson at second.
It was a difficult grounder, but one that had a chance to be turned into a double play. It was ruled a hit, two runs scored and Victorino would later come around to score on a sacrifice fly to center field.
The game featured a matchup between two of the game's elite left-handers making their spring debuts. No. 1 starter Ricky Romero went two innings for the Blue Jays, while Philadelphia countered with two innings from last year's 17-game winner Cliff Lee.
Romero was nearly perfect during his two-inning start. His lone blemish occurred in the top of the second on a double to the corner in right field by Ty Wigginton. Romero recovered to get out of the inning unscathed and retired all six of his outs via the ground ball.
"I thought today, Ricky, [Chad] Jenkins and Luis [Perez] threw the ball exceptionally well," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "They challenged the plate with strikes, they pitched ahead in the count, and I thought Jenkins is one of those guys you see a year later, and you see the physical maturity and the mental maturity, and he attacked the strike zone over his two scoreless innings of work today."
Lee recorded a three-up, three-down, first inning, but he got into some trouble in the second with a leadoff walk to Adam Lind. Brett Lawrie followed two batters later with a double to left field, but Lee managed to escape the inning without any runs by getting Travis Snider looking on a strikeout and a flyout to center by Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia.
Toronto's offense was mostly held in check by Philadelphia's pitching staff. Johnson went 2-for-3 with a triple while Lawrie also added a pair of hits, including his double off Lee.
Up next for the Blue Jays: The Blue Jays play a pair of split-squad games on Wednesday afternoon at 1:05 p.m ET. One game will be held at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin against the Red Sox, with right-hander Brandon Morrow getting the start. Francisco Cordero, Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver, Danny Farquhar and Joel Carreno are also scheduled to pitch. The other game will be held in Bradenton, Fla., against the Pirates with Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Ryan Tepera, Robert Coello and Deck McGuire expected to take the mound.