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Blue Jays send Happ to face Phillies in series opener

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The Sports Network
5/5/2014 10:58:01 AM
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PHILADELPHIA - Former Phillies pitcher J.A. Happ gets a chance to face his former club tonight when the Toronto Blue Jays continue their trip through Pennsylvania with a stop in Philadelphia.

Happ will make his first start of the season and has made three appearances out of the bullpen, allowing two runs and three hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. A sore back landed Happ on the DL to start the season.

Happ has four K's and five walks on the season and the Blue Jays have lost all three games the left-hander has competed in. He played with the Phillies from 2007 through parts of 2010 before being traded to Houston, and has won both of his starts in this series, accumulating a 2.19 ERA in 12 1/3 frames.

Toronto is coming off a 7-2 victory of the Pirates on Sunday. Colby Rasmus belted a grand slam in the second inning and finished with three hits and two runs scored. Melky Cabrera also had three hits, including a two-run homer in the fifth inning, for the Blue Jays, who won for just the third time in the last 11 games.

Dustin McGowan was solid on the mound for the Jays, tossing seven innings of one-run ball and allowing just three hits with five strikeouts and three walks.

"It was good to get a win for this team," said McGowan. "It was something we needed and maybe it will give us a little boost going forward."

The Blue Jays are 2-4 on an eight-game road trip and will return to Rogers Centre later this week to start a nine-game homestand. They will start the stay with two games versus the Phillies.

Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista has reached base in all of his 31 games this season and is batting .294 with nine homers and 20 RBI.

The Phillies and Blue Jays are meeting for the first time since Toronto won all three games at home back in 2012. The Jays are in south Philly for the first time since losing two of three games from June 25-27, 2010.

Philadelphia trails the slumping Atlanta Braves, losers of six straight, by only 1 1/2 games for the NL East lead and took a three-game series from the rival Washington Nationals this weekend. In Sunday's 1-0 win in the rubber match, Chase Utley's RBI single stood as the winning run and scored Jimmy Rollins, who stroked a one-out triple.

Utley has reached base safely in each of his last 12 games.

Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez pitched very well to the tune of seven shutout innings of four-hit ball with three strikeouts and three walks.

"I think he's gotten better as we've gone along as far as command and control and really using his pitches," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Hernandez.

Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo got the final two outs in the eighth and closer Jonathan Papelbon worked around a hit in the ninth to post his ninth save.

The Phillies have won eight of their last 12 games and will send Kyle Kendrick to the mound versus the Blue Jays. Kendrick is still searching for his first win of the season and has an 0-2 record with a 3.52 earned run average in five starts. The Phillies are 2-3 in that time.

Kendrick did not figure into the decision of a 7-3 win at Los Angeles on April 24 and allowed just two runs on 10 hits and a walk over 5 2/3 frames. He has given up at least two runs in each of his past four starts (11 total).

J.A. Happ (Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Tonight's Blue Jays lineup vs. Phillies

1. Jose Reyes-SS
2. Melky Cabrera-LF
3. Jose Bautista-RF
4. Edwin Encarnacion-1B
5. Juan Francisco-3B
6. Brett Lawrie-2B
7. Colby Rasmus-CF
8. Josh Thole-C
9. J.A. Happ-P

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