03/04/12 4:35 PM ET
Halladay sharp, Pence stays hot
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees shook off the Phillies' two-run top of the first on Sunday afternoon, responding with four unanswered runs en route to a 7-4 victory at George M. Steinbrenner Field's Grapefruit League opener.
Alex Rodriguez had three hits, including a home run on the first Grapefruit League pitch he saw this year. Hunter Pence belted a two-run homer for Philadelphia, his second in as many days.
Touting his new "less is more" training approach as he tries to rebound from a frustrating 2011, Rodriguez jumped on a first-inning Roy Halladay offering and sent it over the wall in right-center field.
"Last year, I stood here and had a really good spring, felt really good and the results during the year weren't what we all wanted," Rodriguez said. "[I take it] definitely one day a time. A good start; hopefully the first of many more days to come."
Rodriguez also singled and doubled in his next two plate appearances against Joel Pineiro. The homer was the only blemish of the afternoon for Halladay, who completed two innings around two hits, walking none and striking out three.
"It was hit good," Halladay said of Rodriguez's home run. "One of those pitches I was trying to get in and left it over, but I didn't think it was going to go out. But he hit it well. It wasn't going to be caught."
Entering a spring competition for the Yankees' No. 5 starter's job, Freddy Garcia got off to a shaky beginning, surrendering Pence's two-run homer to left field.
"The good thing is I was throwing strikes," Garcia said. "For me, that's the more important thing, to throw strikes. I'll try to pitch better next time."
Pence also clubbed a two-run blast off the Yankees' Ivan Nova on Saturday at Bright House Field. His homer Sunday was the only damage against Garcia, who threw 33 pitches (25 for strikes) over two innings, allowing four hits while walking none and striking out two.
Haley Swindal, granddaughter of Steinbrenner, performed Sunday's national anthem. There was also a ceremonial flyover by two F18 Hornets from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.
Up next: The Phillies play their third consecutive Grapefruit League game against the New York Yankees on Monday afternoon at Bright House Field. Right-hander Joe Blanton makes his Spring Training debut. Blanton is trying to rebound from a forgettable 2011, when he spent most of the season on the disabled list because of a right elbow injury. Also scheduled to pitch are Scott Elarton, Austin Hyatt, Brian Sanches and David Herndon.