Domonic Brown sent a ball sailing out of Bright House Field in the fourth inning, and then Ryan Howard did him one better with a mammoth shot in the fifth in the Phillies’ 13-5 split-squad win in Clearwater.
The two sluggers have both been hitting at a torrid pace this spring. Brown’s homer was his only base knock – he went 1 for 4 on the afternoon. He now has seven hits, including a double and three long balls, in 20 at-bats.
Perhaps almost as impressive as his tearing the cover off the ball has been his patience at the plate. Though he didn't get a walk Sunday, he’s drawn six in nine games and boasts an OBP of .519. Last season, Brown drew just 21 walks in 212 plate appearances.
Howard, going 1 for 3 on the day while playing in his ninth straight game, brought his Grapefruit League line up to .417/.444/.917.
His homer, which likely ended up somewhere on US-19 after clearing the stadium in right field, came off Toronto lefthander Brett Cecil. It was his first homer of the spring off a southpaw, but continued the trend he’s been having against lefties. In nine at-bats, he’s racked and five hits including two doubles and a homer.
Think it’s time for Howard to get a day off? It won’t happen Monday, when the Big Piece is slated to see action for the 10th consecutive game against the Pirates in Bradenton.
’Pen does its job
Despite battling a hitter-friendly wind, the Phillies’ reliever lineup of Justin De Fratus, Antonio Bastardo, J.C. Ramirez and Joe Savery combined to hold the Blue Jays to one hit and one run (a Mark DeRosa homer off Bastardo) in five innings of work.
De Fratus’ outing in particular was encouraging for the righthander, who’s expected to compete for a regular season spot in the ’pen.
After chalking up four runs and three hits in his most recent appearance Wednesday against the Twins, he needed a grand total of three pitches to induce three ground-ball outs in a 1-2-3 fifth frame. It was his first showing of the spring in which he didn’t give up a run.