Kikuchi strong again as Jays lose Grapefruit League finale to Phillies

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CLEARWATER, Fla. — Yusei Kikuchi put in one last strong pitching performance this spring as the Toronto Blue Jays ended their Grapefruit League campaign Tuesday with a 6-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kikuchi pitched 2 2/3 no-hit innings of relief, racking up six strikeouts over that span.

The left-hander finished spring training with a 2-1 record, a 0.87 earned-run average and 31 strikeouts over seven appearances, including six starts.

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The Phillies won the game in the bottom of the ninth on Darick Hall's RBI double off Jays reliever Adrian Hernandez, who hell to 0-2.

Toronto opened the scoring in the first inning on a two-run single by Brandon Belt.

Bo Bichette doubled the lead with a two-run homer in the top of the second.

Philadelphia cut the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the second on Edmundo Sosa's sacrifice fly.

The Phillies took the lead with a four-run fourth. Alec Bohm opened the scoring with a sac fly, then a Jake Cave single scored Nick Ward. Cave advanced to third thanks to a pair of Toronto errors and scored on Sosa's second sac fly of the game.

Toronto starter Jose Berrios was replaced by Tim Mayza, who surrendered an RBI single to Hall and left the game without recording an out.

The Jays tied in 505 in the seventh on a run-scoring double from Karl Ellison.

Albertus Barber pitched a scoreless ninth for the Phillies to pick up the win.

The Blue Jays finished the pre-season with a 17-15 record. Alek Manoah is scheduled to start Thursday when Toronto opens its 2023 regular season at St. Louis.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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