George M. Steinbrenner Field before a spring training game between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. on February 24, 2017.
TAMPA — The Yankees’ Grapefruit League debut was just about flawless.
Six innings in, four Yankees pitchers were perfect … 18 up and 18 down.
There would be no perfect game, no-hitter or shutout, but this 9-4 Yankees romp over the Philadelphia Phillies was a great way to start the exhibition schedule.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a first-inning homer completely out of Steinbrenner Field, rookie right fielder Aaron Judge hit a tape-measure, fifth-inning bomb off the scoreboard in left-center field, catcher Kyle Higashioka went deep in the seventh, and rotation candidates Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa each worked a pair 1-2-3 innings.
Meantime, new DH Matt Holliday looked good in his first game in pinstripes, going 2-for-2 with two line-drive singles, and the baby bombers came up big, as outfielder Clint Frazier laced a two-run, eighth-inning triple and third baseman Miguel Andujar was 2-for-2 with a double and a triple.
Even the weather, 81 and sunny with a slight breeze, was perfect.
“It’s spring, but it’s kind of good to see where we’re at,” reliever Tyler Clippard said. “That was the one thing when I came in here to this camp that I was impressed with … how far along guys were.”
Mitchell set the tone with a 1-2-3 inning for the Yankees, then after getting a lead in the bottom of the inning on Gregorius’ one-out blast to right, the righty set the Phillies down in order again in the second.
From there, two veteran relievers retired three batters in a row, Clippard in the third and Tommy Layne in the fourth, then Cessa came on and retired all six hitters that he faced.
Down 4-0, the Phillies finally got baserunners in the seventh with left-hander Jordan Montgomery pitching. Scott Kingery reached on a throwing error by shortstop Gleyber Torres, then Cameron Perkins grounded a single up the middle for the Phillies’ first hit. The shutout ended when Daniel Nova followed with an RBI single.
The Phillies wound up getting two in the seventh to make it a 4-2 game, but the Yankees came right back with two in the seventh on a sac fly by Torres and solo homer by Higashioka.
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The Yankees warmed up the big crowd by introducing a few franchise greats before the game.
Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez and Ron Guidry, all spring training guest instructors, received big cheers.
The present-day Yankees gave everyone some feel-good moments, too, in a 9-4 win over the Phillies.
Fans were oohing in the fourth inning when a 68-year-old Pennsylvania woman was struck in the shoulder by a bat when Gary Sanchez lost his grip while batting in the fourth inning.
The woman left her seat for treatment, but wasn’t seriously injured.
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Yankees right-handed pitching prospect Giovanny Gallegos allowed two ninth-inning homers. Cameron Perkins laced a line-drive homer to right with one out for the Phillies, and Brock Stassi homered to right with two down.
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The Yankees play the Phillies again Saturday in Clearwater. Righty Adam Warren will start for the Yankees against lefty Adam Morgan in a 1:05 p.m. game that will be aired on WFAN radio.