Tolleson's three-run blast powers Blue Jays past Phils

Infielder's homer backs strong start from Sanchez

Tolleson's three-run blast powers Blue Jays past Phils

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: Right-hander Drew Hutchison will take the mound when the Blue Jays host the Tigers on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Hutchison, who is a strong candidate to start Opening Day, is expected to pitch approximately six innings. He will be followed on the mound by left-hander Jeff Francis, right-hander Miguel Castro and right-hander Liam Hendriks. Osuna appears guaranteed a spot in the bullpen while the other two likely are on the outside looking in.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.