PHILLIES EXPLODE FOR 8 RUNS IN 8TH TO BEAT ASTROS 8-4

By Harry Allison

Dallas Keuchel dominated the Phillies yesterday, but the Phillies scored eight runs in the eighth inning against Astros relievers Pat Neshek, Tony Sipp and James Hoyt for an 8-4 win.

The inning included a lineout RBI from pinch-hitter Ryan Howard, as well as Cesar Hernandez executing a suicide squeeze to allow Will Venable to score from third to tie the game. It was the Phillies’ third suicide squeeze of the spring and their fourth successful squeeze play overall.

Maikel Franco’s single (above) scored a run to give the Phillies the lead and Andres Blanco hit a grand slam to seal it.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hit a three-run home run to left field with two outs in the fifth inning against Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson to give Houston the lead. It was Altuve’s second homer of the spring.

Hellickson allowed four hits, three runs, one walk and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings. He finished the spring with a 3.31 ERA.

“I felt great,” Hellickson said about his spring. “I’ve just got to get better still with two outs and guys in scoring position. I’ve got to get those big outs when I need them.”

After Preston Tucker doubled and Alex Bregman replaced him as a pinch-runner, the Astros scored another run in the bottom of the ninth off a single from Jason Castro.

Up next for the Phillies: The Phillies head north to Reading, where they play a seven-inning exhibition tonight at 6:05 p.m. ET against some of the Phillies’ top prospects. Prospects in the lineup include J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp.

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