LAKELAND, Fla. — Nothing like a tie to kick off the Grapefruit League schedule.
The Phillies scored six runs in the top of the eighth inning, then promptly gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth in an 8-8 stalemate with the Tigers on Saturday at Joker Marchant Stadium. The teams played nine innings, then agreed to end the game in a tie.
Nick Pivetta, who is competing for the No. 5 starter job, allowed three runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings. But manager Joe Girardi was pleased with Pivetta’s velocity and the development of a changeup, a pitch that the right-hander plans to throw more often this season.
Early on, “I don’t look … necessarily at the numbers.” Girardi said. “[Pivetta] didn’t walk people. He was ahead in the count. You start doing that, and your location gets better as you get more innings under your belt, you’ve got something.”
Top prospect Alec Bohm finished with two hits, including an RBI single as part of the eighth-inning rally that was keyed by consecutive extra-base hits by Nick Maton (RBI double), Mickey Moniak (RBI double) and Darick Hall (RBI triple).
Hard-throwing reliever Cristopher Sanchez gave away an 8-5 lead by allowing three runs on three hits and two walks.
It also marked Girardi’s first game as a manager since he got fired by the New York Yankees after the 2017 postseason.
“I chewed a lot of seeds, a lot of bubble gum, like always. Like old times,” Girardi said, smiling. “Took a little nap on the bus on the way over and ate a lot for lunch. The same thing.”
The teams combined to use 57 players.