Twins Split Squad beats Phils

By on March 22, 2016

The Philadelphia Phillies dropped a 7-5 decision to a split squad of Minnesota Twins Tuesday at Bright House Field in Clearwater. The Twins broke open what had been a close game by scoring four runs in the top of the seventh inning, and then held on to send the Phillies to just their sixth loss of the spring.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff allowed three earned runs and struck out seven batters in four innings against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. (photo Buck Davidson)

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff allowed three earned runs and struck out seven batters in four innings against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. (photo Buck Davidson)

Minnesota jumped out to a quick lead thanks to single tallies in the each of the first two innings; the Twins had a chance to put up a crooked number in the first frame, but Philadelphia starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff was able to escape the jam. The Phillies battled back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second, and then rallied to square the game at three after Minnesota had edged ahead in the fourth.

Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton slides safely intro second base as Philadelphia's Cesar Hernandez applies the tag. (photo Buck Davidson)

Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton slides safely intro second base as Philadelphia’s Cesar Hernandez applies the tag. (photo Buck Davidson)

The Phils took the lead in the sixth thanks to a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Angelys Nina, but they saw that lead evaporate and then some when Minnesota plated four runs in the top of the seventh to take a three-run advantage. The Phils rallied for a single run in the bottom of the eighth, but Minnesota reliever J.R. Graham retired the Phillies in order in the ninth to record his first save of the spring.

Minnesota Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez makes the turn at second base Tuesday as Philadelphia's Darnell Sweeney slides into the bag. (photo Buck Davidson)

Minnesota Twins shortstop Eduardo Nunez makes the turn at second base Tuesday as Philadelphia’s Darnell Sweeney slides into the bag. (photo Buck Davidson)

Eickhoff found the strike zone with 51 of his 74 pitches; he walked two batters, allowed two homers and struck out seven in what was a rather mediocre outing. Reliever Andrew Bailey, who has been mentioned as a possible option to close games for the Phillies, struggled through a very rough outing – allowing three earned runs and four hits in his single inning of work. Offensively, David Lough had two hits, drew a walk and plated an RBI in a losing cause.

Minnesota Twins outfielder Daniel Palka had a big day at the plate against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. (photo Buck Davidson)

Minnesota Twins outfielder Daniel Palka had a big day at the plate against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. (photo Buck Davidson)

Minnesota starting pitcher Phil Hughes turned in a rather lackluster performance, allowing four earned runs and nine hits in five and one-third innings, but he did manage to strike out nine batters on the day. Outfielder Daniel Palka smacked a pair of solo home runs, while shortstop Danny Santana had two hits, stole a base and scored a pair of runs for the victorious Twins. Top prospect Byron Buxton went 2-for-5, scored a run and added a stolen base.

The Phillies travel to Kissimmee for a date with the Houston Astros on Wednesday, and then swing over to Lake Buena Vista to take on the Atlanta Braves the following day. The Phillies return to Bright House Field and host the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night at 6:35 pm.

 

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