CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Bryce Harper has been playing catch-up since his free agency carried over into spring training.
With a week left until opening day, the Philadelphia Phillies’ big-money addition looks ready to pay off.
Harper hit his first two Grapefruit League homers, combining with fellow new additions Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto to help Philadelphia pound the Toronto Blue Jays 13-6 Thursday.
Harper smashed a two-run homer to right off Sam Gaviglio in the fourth inning and had a solo shot against lefty Thomas Pannone in the sixth. McCutchen also took Gaviglio deep in the second, and Realmuto had a three-run shot in the fourth. That trio has been sharp this spring, with Harper posting a 1.192 OPS, Realmuto at 1.285 and McCutchen .830.
Gift Ngoepe and Andrew Knapp also went deep, and Vince Velasquez struck out nine but allowed three runs and two homers in 3 1/3 innings. Velasquez has a 12.79 ERA this spring.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered to continue a hot spring with Toronto, and Randal Grichuk, Billy McKinney and Rowdy Tellez also went deep. Gaviglio was charged with eight runs.
MORE FROM AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES
RAYS 8, BRAVES 1
A day after agreeing to a $24 million, six-year contract, Brandon Lowe hit a three-run homer for the Rays. The infielder has just 58 days of major league service and joined Evan Longoria, Matt Moore and Chris Archer as players with less than one year of major league service when they long-term deals with Tampa Bay.
Nate Lowe also had a three-run homer, and Mike Zunino hit a solo shot for the Rays. Two-way prospect Brendan McKay struck out four in two innings in his first spring start, allowing a run and two hits.
Top Braves prospect Kyle Wright allowed six runs and got just two outs. Austin Riley had a solo home run.
PIRATES 7, ORIOLES 5
Jung Ho Kang hit a game-ending grand slam to lift the Pirates. Jonah Davis, a 15th-round pick in last year’s draft, hit two home runs in his first career spring training game, and Francisco Cervelli added a solo shot. Chris Archer pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed three runs while striking out six.
David Hess, one of three pitchers vying for the final two spots in the Orioles rotation, allowed two solo homers over five innings. Trey Mancini homered off Archer.
TIGERS 5, ASTROS 3
Jeimer Candelario hit two home runs and Miguel Cabrera also went deep for the Tigers. Matt Moore allowed three runs over 4 1/3 innings.
Tony Kemp homered and had three hits for Houston. Corbin Martin pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, five hits and three homers.
CARDINALS 11, YANKEES 3
Marcell Ozuna hit his first spring homer and had three hits, and Dexter Fowler hit two homers for the Cardinals. Jake Woodford allowed three runs in four innings. Dakota Hudson was named the team’s No. 5 starter after the game.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Greg Bird would likely play over the weekend after being held out Thursday after being hit on his right elbow in the first inning of Wednesday’s game. Bird is batting .333 with three doubles, three homers and 17 RBIs. Domingo German got the start and gave up five runs and three homers over 3 2/3 innings.
METS 6, MARLINS 0
Brandon Nimmo had two homers and four RBIs, and Michael Conforto hit his fifth homer of the spring for the Mets. Steven Matz pitched five strong innings, striking out three and allowing six hits. Led by Edwin Diaz, the bullpen followed with four hitless innings.
Marlins’ starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed five runs and seven hits, two of them home runs.
NATIONALS 7, CARDINALS 1
Ryan Zimmerman and Brian Dozier each went deep, and Jeremy Hellickson pitched five scoreless innings for Washington. Hellickson struck out six and allowed four hits and three walks, dropping his spring ERA to 0.95. Hellickson resoundingly locked up the team’s No. 5 starter role with a strong camp.
Chris Beck allowed a run in two innings for St. Louis, and Chasen Shreve followed by allowing two runs in 1 2/3 innings.
RED SOX 8, RAYS 0
Dustin Pedroia had two hits, Rafael Devers tripled and Boston’s pitchers combined on a four-hitter. Hector Velazquez allowed two hits in two innings to start, Matt Barnes struck out the side in the fourth, and Colten Brewer and Marcus Walden also looked sharp in relief.
Promising Rays youngster Willy Adames was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, dropping his spring average to .184.
GIANTS 5, CUBS 5
Days after San Francisco starter Jeff Samardzija revealed he was in favor of ties during the regular season, the Giants allowed a pinch-hit solo homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth to finish tied with the Cubs. Samardzija pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits, including two home runs. He struck out four. Ty Blach retired the first two batters in the ninth before Kevonte Mitchell took him deep. Brandon Belt hit his fourth home run.
Kyle Hendricks pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits for the Cubs. Anthony Rizzo doubled and Albert Almora Jr. hit his third home run of the spring.
ANGELS 2, DIAMONDBACKS 1
Mike Trout got a hit and played the entire game a day after signing a record 12-year, $426.5 million contract with Los Angeles. Noe Ramirez pitched three shutout innings for the Angels, allowing two hits. Three relievers kept the Diamondbacks hitless until seventh inning. Jason Alexander worked the final two innings and allowed the lone run in the eighth.
Merrill Kelly pitched five innings for Arizona, allowing a run and three hits while striking out three.
ROYALS 14, REDS 6
Chris Owings hit a solo homer and Jorge Soler added a three-run shot for the Royals, who hit three homers in the ninth inning. Heath Fillmyer pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, eight hits and four walks.
Anthony DeScalfani pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed five runs, including two homers. Jose Peraza and Scooter Gennett each tripled, with Peraza driving in three and Gennett getting two RBIs.
RANGERS (SS) 7, INDIANS 3
Rougned Odor hit a three-run home run and Ronald Guzman added a solo shot for the Rangers. Drew Smyly pitched four innings, allowing three runs and eight hits and striking out four.
Mike Clevinger allowed four runs and eight hits in four innings for Cleveland. Trayce Thompson homered for the Indians.
BREWERS 11, DODGERS 5
Corbin Burnes learned he had secured a spot in the Brewers’ rotation along with Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta, then struck out nine Dodgers over five innings, allowing three earned runs. Tyler Saladino hit a three-run home run, and Yasmani Grandal added a two-run shot.
Justin Turner hit a three-run homer and Cody Asche had a two-run shot for the Dodgers. Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed four runs and five hits in his five-inning start.
WHITE SOX 12, RANGERS (SS) 2
Ivan Nova allowed an unearned run and three hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out five. Alex Colome got one out in the sixth, and three relievers checked the Rangers on four hits and allowed just one earned run the rest of the way. Yonder Alonso hit his fifth home run of the spring and drove in four.
Jason Hammel, in camp as a non-roster invitee, pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, including two homers. Hammel has said he will not accept a minor league assignment. Eli White had two hits.
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