Ruiz, Utley support Hamels' scoreless start vs. Blue Jays

Fourth-inning hits provide offense to back lefty's strong outing in loss

Ruiz, Utley support Hamels' scoreless start vs. Blue Jays

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- A four-run eighth inning powered the Blue Jays to a 4-1 win over the Phillies on Thursday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

An RBI double by Ryan Goins and a three-run blast by Steve Tolleson in the bottom of the eighth provided Toronto's offense.

"He's smoking," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after Tolleson's third homer of the spring. "Last year, he was primarily against lefties. He had his eyes fixed, and I think he looks better, he's seeing the ball better from both sides of the plate. Tolly is just a good player. He's one of those guys, he's just there, he helps teams out tremendously. He can run, he play anywhere on the field, he's a valuable guy on the field."

The game featured a pitchers' duel between Phillies ace Cole Hamels and Blue Jays promising right-hander Aaron Sanchez with both teams being held off the scoreboard through the first three innings. Philadelphia didn't get its first hit until the fourth inning while Kevin Pillar had Toronto's first hit in the fifth.

The Phillies opened the scoring in the top of the fourth when Chase Utley sparked the rally with a one-out single. Veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz followed with a double to the gap in right-center field as Utley easily came around to score. With that, Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead but almost lost it in the following inning.

Pillar led off with an infield single, but he was later picked off first base by Hamels. Center fielder Dalton Pompey followed with a shot off the wall in left-center field. Pompey missed the home run by a few feet but showed off his speed and ended up on third with a head-first slide. He was later stranded when Jose Reyes struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt.

Sanchez was removed from the game in the folowing inning after reaching his pitch count for the afternoon. He allowed the one run on two hits, a walk and two strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. The native of California has now allowed eight earned runs in 18 1/3 innings this spring as he nears his big league starting debut early next month.

Hamels was taken out after the fifth. He didn't allow a run and surrendered only two hits, but he did walk three batters while striking out four. It was Hamels' fifth outing of the spring with his innings total now sitting at 15 2/3 innings to go along with nine earned runs.

Utley was the standout in Philadelphia's lineup with a pair of hits and a run scored.

Up next: Top Phillies pitching prospect Aaron Nola will start Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Yankees at Bright House Field. The Phillies selected Nola with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. Nola is scheduled to open the season in Double-A Reading but it is not a stretch to think he could join the big league rotation before the end of the year.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.