Notes: Jays offense kicks into gear

Notes: Jays offense kicks into gear

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- One after another after another.

The Blue Jays broke out the bats on Sunday, posting six runs in the second inning against the Phillies and three more in the third for a 9-4 win, the most runs they have scored so far in the spring.

"We had some really good at-bats there, didn't we?" Blue Jays manager John Gibbons asked. "It's always good to see that happen. And it makes it a little easier on the pitcher so he can go out there and do his thing."

Jesse Litsch started for the Jays, and he used the opportunity to attack hitters and impress the Toronto brass, as he allowed one earned run on two hits with six strikeouts over four innings.

"He looked outstanding," Gibbons said. "He pitched really well. It was good for him and good for us."

With Litsch pitching masterfully, Toronto's bats lit up Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick for seven hits and six runs and then battered reliever John Ennis for three hits and three runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Vernon Wells had the best day, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs, while David Eckstein went 1-for-2 with one run and two RBIs and Aaron Hill went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs.

"It was good to see us hit the ball that way today," Gibbons said. "We were really hitting the ball up the middle well."

Mixing it up: Gibbons said that he would have Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen pitch four innings each of simulated ball on Tuesday against Minor Leaguers while the Major League squad faces the Yankees in Tampa, Fla. He does not want to use McGowan against the Yankees because Toronto will face New York the first three games of the season, when the 6-foot-3 righty is slotted to pitch.

"You'd just rather have [the Yankees] not see him that much in the spring because of that," Gibbons said.

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Game savers: Gibbons was excited before the game in discussing his relief corps this season. With closer B.J. Ryan making substantial progress in his return to the bump, Gibbons expressed enthusiasm about having Janssen be his eighth-inning setup man with Lance Carter spelling relief in a setup role, as well.

Gibbons also noted the improvements of Brandon League and Scott Downs and said that the group of relievers can help the team in an immense way.

"You can rest guys here and there, and it will allow us to do a lot of things," Gibbons said.

Uh-oh: During drills on Sunday morning before the team headed over to Clearwater, Fla., to face the Phillies, Minor League prospect Ryan Patterson may have injured his shoulder jumping into a makeshift wall. Walking off the field, he mentioned that he may have injured it.

Coming up: Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay is scheduled to pitch four innings on Monday, when Toronto travels to Kissimmee, Fla., to face the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET. Houston will counter with right-hander Roy Oswalt.

Chris Girandola is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.