CLEARWATER, Fla. — Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins homered for the second straight day and the Phillies cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Rollins finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a walk. Rollins is 6-for-13 since snapping out of a 0-for-23 slump this spring on Wednesday.
“He’s had very good at-bats,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “And good plays in the field, too.”
Rollins is hitting .211 (8 for 38) in 14 games in the exhibition season.
Rollins, the longest-tenured player on the Phillies, entering his 14th season with team, led the offense.
Domonic Brown and Marlon Byrd each had two hits and Ryan Howard finished 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.
The Phillies had been struggling to score runs this spring. Following Sunday’s game, the team’s .657 OPS is the lowest of any of teams
“It’s a good sign,” Sandberg said. “And good timing for it.”
The Phillies chased Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes after five innings.
Hughes, in his first season with the Twins after signing a three-year, $24 million free agent deal, allowed five runs and nine hits. The former Yankees pitcher struck out three and walked one.
“I got my pitch count up, obviously I would have liked to do it over more innings,” Hughes said. “I was going in and out of my mechanics a little inconsistent, missing my spots.”
Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick held the Twins to one run and five hits in six innings. Kendrick struck out six while walking one.
“I knew today was going to be my last outing before we get up north, so just wanted to work on everything, be aggressive, kind of throw everything,” Kendrick said. “I worked on my curveball and felt pretty good.”
Philadelphia: Kyle Kendrick is entering his walk year; he’s a free agent for the first time in his career following the season. He looked like a pitcher prepared for a prosperous season on Sunday against the Twins, when he limited Minnesota to one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked just one. “You always want to finish strong,” Kendrick said of his final start in Florida. “Even if it’s spring training, you always want to go out on a good note into the season. It was a good note to finish on and I’m feeling strong and excited to get the season underway.” Kendrick is likely to start one of the Phillies exhibition games in Philadelphia next weekend.
Minnesota: Prior to Sunday, Phil Hughes had been throwing well in his first spring with the Twins after signing a three-year, $24 million deal as a free agent. The former Yankees pitcher had allowed just one earned run in three games (8 2-3 innings). But Hughes came undone on Sunday against the Phillies, when he gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings.
“I was throwing the ball really well coming into this one,” Hughes said. “I was just a little more inconsistent than I have been this spring.”
Hughes was 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 30 games (29 starts) with the Yankees last season.
WHO’S ON THIRD:
Philadelphia’s Cody Asche has all but locked up the starting job at third base. Asche, who became the Phillies everyday third baseman in the final two months of 2013, came into camp this spring competing with top prospect Maikel Franco. But Franco was sent to minor league camp on Saturday.
The Phillies made another move involving a third baseman on Sunday, when they outrighted veteran infielder Kevin Frandsen off the 40-man roster. Frandsen started 51 games at third base for the Phillies in 2012-2013.
Philadelphia reserve infielder Freddy Galvis remains hospitalized after being diagnosed with a MRSA infection on Friday. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said there was a chance Galvis could be released on Monday. Galvis is no longer on an IV. Galvis will open the season on the disabled list.