J.A. Happ bests former team, Blue Jays top Phillies 5-3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — J.A. Happ is always at his best against his former team.
Devon Travis and Dwight Smith Jr. each hit two-run doubles, Happ pitched neatly into the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 Sunday.
Curtis Granderson added a solo homer to help the Blue Jays take two of three in the interleague series.
Happ (7-3) allowed three runs — two earned — and six hits, striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings to improve to 5-0 in five starts against the Phillies. The lefty began his career in Philadelphia and was part of the 2008 World Series championship team and 2009 NL champs.
“I’ll never forget those times, some of the best memories of my career were here,” Happ said.
Travis lined a double to left-center to give the Jays a 2-0 lead in the second. Smith hit one down the third-base line with two outs in the sixth off a 3-2 pitch from reliever Tommy Hunter, extending the lead to 4-0.
“It was awesome,” said Travis, who entered the game batting .157. “I wanted to feel like when the game is over I did one thing to help my team win.”
Granderson hit a 0-2 pitch in the ninth to right off closer Hector Neris to provide an insurance run after Toronto’s lead was cut to 4-3.
Phillies starter Nick Pivetta (4-3) gave up two runs and four hits, striking out seven in five innings in his first career start against the team he grew up rooting for in Victoria, British Columbia.
“He did a nice job despite not having his best command,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.
Down 4-0, Philadelphia rallied in the sixth and got help from some sloppy defense.
Maikel Franco hit a single with one out and Carlos Santana reached on an infield hit. The runners went to second and third on third baseman Josh Donaldson’s throwing error.
Aaron Altherr followed with an RBI single. Santana scored and Altherr advanced to second when center fielder Kevin Pillar slipped and booted the ball for an error. Nick Williams added an RBI single to right.
Seunghwan Oh retired the four batters he faced and Ryan Tepera finished for his second save in five tries.
Happ was 14-5 in parts of four seasons with the Phillies from 2007-10, including 12-4 in 2009. He was traded to Houston in a deal that brought Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia.
Each of Toronto’s starters pitched at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer to help the Jays win a series for the first time since April 30-May 2 at Minnesota.
“We try to feed off each other,” Happ said. “Three quality starts is a good step.”
After moving into first place in the NL East this late in a season for the first time since finishing 2011 with 102 wins, the Phillies (29-21) fell a half-game behind Atlanta.
DOMINATING THE SERIES
The Blue Jays (25-28) are 14-4 vs. Philadelphia since 2012 and 36-24 overall, including the 1993 World Series.
Phillies slugger Carlos Santana is batting .288 (21 for 73) with four doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 21 RBIs in his past 20 games after beginning the season with a .151 average with two homers and 11 RBIs in his first 30 games.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (2-4, 4.07 ERA) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game set at Boston. He’s 4.2 with a 3.66 ERA in 17 appearances vs. the Red Sox, including nine starts.
Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (4-5, 4.18) starts the opener of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers as the team begins a 10-game road trip. Velasquez is 0-2 with an 11.45 ERA in three appearances vs. the Dodgers with 17 strikeouts in 11 innings.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball