BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) - Neither Joe Blanton nor Kevin Correia let a handful of early hits get in the way of their outings Friday.
Blanton allowed two runs and four hits in 3 2-3 innings as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-4 Friday.
``I would have liked to finish that inning, definitely, but I feel more comfortable, which is a positive step at this time,' Blanton said.
Correia gave up two runs and five hits while striking out five in three innings. He walked none.
Ryan Howard hit a tiebreaking home run for the Phillies in the sixth. Howard and Jimmy Rollins each got two hits.
Andy Marte got two hits and drove in two runs for Pittsburgh. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno was scheduled to start for the Pirates, but was scratched because of a bruised middle finger sustained a day earlier.
The Phillies took the lead with three runs in the seventh inning against Fernando Nieve and Michael Dubee, son of Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee.
Lefty Antonio Bastardo, who had soreness in his throwing elbow, made his spring debut for the Phillies and earned the save with two strikeouts in a hitless ninth.
Blanton gave up a one-out double to Pedro Ciriaco in the first inning, and Neil Walker, Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz added singles. Blanton retired the next eight batters.
While Blanton is the No. 5 guy in a fearsome Phillies rotation, Correia has a chance to start on opening day. He signed with the Pirates as a free agent in December.
Correia was pulled after 1 1-3 innings in his spring debut on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays with the bases loaded and one out. He allowed four straight singles against the Phillies, then retired nine of the next 10 batters.
``Last time I went out my mechanics weren't very good so I just wanted to go out, tighten up my mechanics and throw some strikes early, get them to put the ball in play quicker, and I did,' Correia said.
The Associated Press News Service
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