Recaps for March 14 action in the Grapefruit League.
Phillies 2, Pirates 1
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Pete Orr hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Orr, a veteran utilityman, connected off former Phillies left-hander Mike Zagurski, hitting a long drive to right.
Phillies starter Aaron Cook tossed three one-hit innings. Cook, who has made one relief appearance since 2003, is trying to make the roster as a long man in the bullpen.
Pirates starter Kyle McPherson threw five scoreless innings, allowing four hits. McPherson, who is competing for the fifth spot in Pittsburgh’s rotation, helped his chances after two rough outings.
Phillies center fielder Ender Inciarte, a Rule 5 pickup from Arizona, made a perfect one-hop throw to the plate to retire Brad Hawpe trying to score on Clint Barmes’ single in the second.
Nationals 6, Astros 3
VIERA, Fla. (AP) — Jayson Werth misplayed a fly ball for a three-base error in the top of the first inning then connected for his first home run of spring training in the bottom half and Micah Owings hit a grand slam to lead the Washington Nationals past the Houston Astros 6-3 on Thursday.
Werth connected on a fastball from Alex White.
Closer Rafael Soriano had his roughest outing so far for Washington, giving up two hits — including a two-run homer to Houston’s Nate Freiman.
Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez led off the game with a home run against Washington starter Chris Young, who did not allow another run in four innings.
Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos had two hits each for Washington.
Rays 4, Orioles 3
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Bidding for the fifth starter’s job, Jeff Niemann allowed one run in 4 1-3 innings as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 on Thursday.
Niemann, who’s allowed three runs in 12 2-3 innings this spring left with a runner on. Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Juan Sandoval to tie it at 3.
In his first start for Baltimore, Kevin Gausman, the Orioles first pick in the 2012 draft, allowed two runs in 2 2-3 innings. Luke Scott gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead with a two-run home run.
The winning run scored on catcher Luis Exposito’s error.
Cardinals 5, Braves 4
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Joe Kelly allowed three hits and one run in four solid innings Thursday to strengthen his claim on the fifth spot in the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation in a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Matt Adams broke a 4-all tie with a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Kelly has had an impressive spring training. He has allowed just five hits and two earned runs in eight innings over three starts. Shelby Miller, his main competition for the last rotation spot, allowed six hits and three earned runs in 2 2-3 innings.
Mike Minor allowed six hits and four runs in five innings for the Braves. He retired 12 of the first 14 hitters he faced and allowed just one hit prior to the fifth — the Cardinals batted around and scored four runs on five hits off the lefty in his final inning.
Tigers 9, Mets 1
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Dillon Gee struggled with his command, giving up six runs in the New York Mets’ 9-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
Gee allowed three hits, four walks and hit two batters in two innings. He also threw three wild pitches.
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run single in his first spring training game back since leaving to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He homered in one at-bat for the Tigers in an exhibition against Florida Southern on Wednesday.
Matt Tuiasosopo hit a two-run homer in the second inning for Detroit.
Tigers starter Doug Fister allowed just one run on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts over four innings.
Blue Jays 17, Yankees 5
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Josh Johnson allowed one run over three innings, Maicer Izturis had five RBIs, and the Toronto Blue Jays routed the New York Yankees 17-5 on Thursday.
Johnson, coming off a start last Friday in which he retired all 11 batters he faced, gave up two hits and struck out five. The right-hander is part of a revamped Toronto rotation that includes other offseason additions R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle.
The biggest challenge Johnson faced was sitting in the dugout for long stretches during a pair of big Toronto innings on a windy day with a game time temperature near 60.
Melky Cabrera drove in four runs for the Blue Jays, who lead 15-1 after two innings.
Cabrera had an RBI double and two-run double, and Izturis drove in three runs with double during the Blue Jays’ nine-run first against Jose Ramirez and Adam Warren.
Red Sox 7, Twins 3
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Mike Pelfrey gave up five runs in two innings as he tries to accelerate his return from Tommy John surgery, and the Minnesota Twins lost to the Boston Red Sox 7-3 Thursday.
Pelfrey had the elbow-reconstruction operation May 1 while with the Mets last season. Typical recuperation takes about year but he has pushed his rehab to be ready for opening day. He allowed six hits in his fourth start of spring training.
New Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster struck out three and gave up one run — a homer — and three hits in four innings. He struck out three and walked two, finishing his fourth spring appearance with a 2.13 ERA.
Boston’s Will Middlebrooks had a three-run double, and Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and two runs scored.