By Sam Bush
Tommy Joseph’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Phillies to a 6-5 walk-off win against the Red Sox yesterday in Clearwater.
Two Red Sox errors helped set up the deciding run. After Maikel Franco led off with a single, Dylan Cozens replaced him as a pinch-runner. Cozens went to second on a wild pickoff attempt by pitcher Kyle Martin, and to third when Michael Saunders reached on a throwing error by shortstop Deiner Lopez.
The Phillies scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie it against Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. The Sox re-took the lead with one-run in the top of the sixth, only to have the Phillies answer with a run in the bottom of the inning.
“I’m excited by the fact that we got behind early and it didn’t look promising and we came back to stay in the game,” said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin.
“It’s always good to win. We’re trying to get these guys in a winning frame of mind. We want to create a culture of winning. Winning is a big part of development.”
The Red Sox scored three times in the first two innings against Phillies starter Aaron Nola, the 2014 first-round draft choice who missed the last two months of 2016 with a strained elbow.
The big hit for Boston was a two-run homer by Pablo Sandoval in the first. Sandoval also singled and scored in the fifth.
“It’s probably the best I’ve felt all spring training,” said Nola, who has a 6.14 Grapefruit League ERA. “I felt pretty on point. I made a couple mistakes over the plate but, other than that, all my pitches felt really good today. I obviously want good results, but I feel like the more I get out there the better I’ll feel.”
Daniel Nava — a longtime member of the Red Sox — had four hits, including a triple, and scored a run against his former team.
Speedy Roman Quinn played a big part in the Phillies attack. He homered in the third and singled, stole a base and beat the throw to home on a grounder to second in the fifth. His fly to center in the sixth was deep enough to allow Nava to advance, and that put him in position to score the tying run on a two-out error by third baseman Rafael Devers.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez, vying for a spot in the rotation, held the Phillies to one run on three hits and a walk in his four innings, striking out three.
“I feel really good, I feel normal with everything,” Rodriguez said. “Now I just need to get concentration and working on my consistency with my pitches. That’s what I’m working on right now.”