Blanton, J-Roll Lead Phils to Victory

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Joe Blanton might be the fifth starter on a staff of four aces but that doesn’t mean he can’t put on a show himself.

    Blanton spread five hits over six shutout innings to earn his second win of the spring as the Phillies beat the Braves 3-1 in his final Clearwater start.

    "When you have a good start it helps you mentally, gives you a little momentum heading in. Hopefully I can keep that rolling and just gradually get better as I go."

    Blanton, who also struck out four, lowered his spring ERA to 3.21 in his second-to-last start before the regular season.

    Blanton will make his final spring start with a short outing Wednesday in Philly.

    "When you have a good start it helps you mentally, gives you a little momentum heading in. Hopefully I can keep that rolling and just gradually get better as I go."

    "Joe did fine," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He mixed his pitches well, changed speeds good and had a pretty good cutter."

    Jimmy Rollins supplied Blanton with all the offense he needed. The Phillies shortstop hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and scored his second run of the game on an RBI triple by Ryan Howard.

    Newly acquired 2B Luis Castillo had an impressive day going 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored for the Phightins.

    Danys Baez came in for the seventh and promptly allowed the Braves on the board by allowing two hits and the earned run.

    In a possible sign of things to come with closer Brad Lidge on the mend, Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless eighth and Jose Contreras struck out two in a scoreless ninth to earn the save.

    The Phillies go split squad Saturday with games against the Tigers and Blue Jays. Roy Halladay will take the hill for his final spring tune up in one of those games.