FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- A traffic tie up kept the Philadelphia
Phillies on the road for more than five hours Friday. Then they had
to face Tim Wakefield's knuckleball, and not even Ryan Howard's
continued hot hitting could overcome that.
Wakefield pitched four shutout innings, David Murphy hit two
homers and the Boston Red Sox won 9-4 in a game delayed 1 hour, 32
minutes at the start. A truck spilled its contents on the highway
just after the Phillies left their spring training base for the
"I don't even know if we had gotten out of Clearwater before it
was bumper-to-bumper," Phillies backup catcher Chris Coste said.
"Right when we got on (Interstate) 275, it was instantly like that
and, before you know it, it was two hours later and I don't think
we got two miles."
Cory Lidle, the scheduled starting pitcher, couldn't get loose
and didn't enter the game until the third inning. He allowed four
runs and five hits in three innings, including Trot Nixon's solo
homer in the third and Murphy's three-run homer in the fifth that
made it 5-1.
Murphy, who played at Double-A Portland last year, added a
two-run homer in the seventh. But he had struck out in all four of
his at-bats in his first exhibition game and entered Friday's game
with one hit in 11 at-bats.
"I just forced myself to relax today. I've been very tense up
at the plate," Murphy said. "A lot of guys will tell you when
you're going bad to just slow the game down a little bit."
The Phillies have a more highly touted young player, first
baseman Howard, and he went 2-for-3 with a double and a solo homer
that made it 6-2 in the sixth. So far this spring he has 11 hits
with four homers, eight RBI and six runs.
"He's going to be fine," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
"I'm sure the talk always comes into play, but if he can handle it
he can handle anything they throw up there if he just keeps playing
baseball the way that he's been playing."
Wakefield allowed two hits, doubles by Howard and Danny
Sandoval, and struck out two. He also threw two wild pitches past
Josh Bard, who is competing with Ken Huckaby to be Wakefield's
personal catcher after Doug Mirabelli was traded to San Diego.
"I'm comfortable with (Bard) back there. I threw some balls in
the dirt today that he did a good job of blocking or trying to
block," Wakefield said. "I threw a couple fastballs and the one
ball that got hit to the wall was a curveball. I wanted to try to
mix one in. I just hung it."
Said Bard: "Every pitch is going to be a learning experience."
^Notes:@Crisp went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and is 8-for-13 in
five games in his first exhibition season with Boston. ... Curt
Schilling is to pitch for Boston on Saturday against Pittsburgh in
Bradenton. Josh Beckett is to pitch at the minor league complex in
Fort Myers. ... Zack Segovia started in place of Lidle and allowed
two hits in one scoreless inning.