Jays Win Both Split-Squad Games

The Jays used the long ball and received good pitching to win both of their split-squad spring training games Tuesday afternoon. Bench coach Ernie Whitt led the Blue Jays over the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 6-4 in Dunedin, while John Gibbons managed the rest of the Jays to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers.

The highlight came when Gabe Gross went deep once again and hit his fourth home run of the spring off Jesse Crain in the fourth inning to put the Jays in front 2-1. Alexis Rios tied the game the at bat before as he also went deep off Crain, for his first home run this spring.

"Gabe is on a mission" said manager John Gibbons. "`We all think he'll be a heck of a player, but he's out there making a statement now."

Scott Downs started the game for the Jays allowing three hits and one run over two innings of work. Seven other Jays pitched pitched the next seven innings allowing no runs and just five hits. Spike Lundberg picked up the win as he allowed two hits in the third inning. Francisco Rosario allowed two hits and Zach Jackson allowed one hit in his inning of work. Pitchers Jason Arnold, Jesse Carlson, David Purcey each pitched a hitless inning, as Ismael Ramirez pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the spring.

The Jays used a four-run forth inning in their second split-squad game to rally from a 4-1 deficit over the Phillies. The rally started with a leadoff home run by Eric Hinske and Frank Catalanotto tied the game with a two-run double, and scored the go-ahead run on a Vernon Wells single. Catalanotto finished the game with two hits and two runs batted in. Russ Adams also drove in a run along with Fran Menechino, who had three hits on the afternoon.

David Bush pitched three innings allowing three hits and one run. He walked one and struck out two.

"I walked a guy, which I wasn't happy with. And I was behind a lot of guys, but mostly, it's due to some minor mechanical things I need to work out," said Bush. "I wasn't missing by a lot, but I was missing by a little bit, mostly with my two-seamer. I was getting good movement, particularly in to righties -- I was just missing in on them." Kerry Ligtenberg picked up the victory despite allowing a trio of hits and runs in his inning of work.

``If you don't have the velocity that he is lacking right now it makes it tough,'' Whitt said. ``He elevated the ball and when you elevate the ball you get hurt.''

Justin Speier, Scott Schoeneweis, and Pete Walker each pitched a perfect inning. Vinnie Chulk retired the final three Phillies to end the game.

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