Blue Jays, Phillies Series Resumes Saturday Night; Toronto Has Nine Games Remaining In Dunedin

DUNEDIN – The Blue Jays’ temporary home of TD Ballpark and the Phillies’ Clearwater spring home of BayCare Ballpark are separated by six miles.

So, there was definitely local flavor in the air Friday night when the Blue Jays opened their third and final homestand in Dunedin against the Phils.

Unlike spring training, the three-game series between the teams matters. The Phils came away winners in the series opener, 5-1.

After falling behind on a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. home run in the sixth, the Phillies scored all of their runs in the seventh and did so on only two hits.

With the bases loaded and two out, J.T Realmuto fought back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk off Tim Mayza to tie the game. Rhys Hoskins followed with a bases-clearing double off Mayza. Alec Bohm then doubled off Jeremy Beasley to score Hoskins.

Mayza and Trent Thornton, who came on in the sixth in relief of starter Steven Matz, combined to walk four batters in the seventh. Thornton (1-1) took the loss.

“He was just not throwing strikes and was pitching from behind in the count,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, of Mayza, who faced three batters and allowed two walks and the Hoskins double. “His stuff is still there and he will get it back.”

It was Realmuto’s second opportunity with the bases full. He grounded out in the third and had left six runners on base in his first three at-bats.

Connor Brogdon, who threw only two pitches in getting the last out in the sixth, got the win. He is 4-1 in relief and leads the Phillies’ staff in wins.

The game opened the Blue Jays’ final homestand in Dunedin. The 10-game homestand continues Saturday evening (7:37) and Sunday afternoon (1:07) against Philadelphia. Following a day off Monday, the Red Sox come to Dunedin for three games.

Speaking of local flavor, the Blue Jays’ regular season stay in the town of 36,000 winds down with a four-game series against the Rays. The series concludes with a Monday, May 24 matinee.

The Blue Jays’ first homestand in Buffalo begins June 1 with a two-game series against the Marlins. Toronto played all of last season in Buffalo, which is home to their Triple-A affiliate.

With the loss Friday night, the Blue Jays slipped to 7-5 at TD Ballpark.

Tom Layberger is also a contributing writer to forbes.com

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.