Phillies beat Triple-A Lehigh IronPigs 5-3

March 30, 2008 7:19:00 PM PDT
The way Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Geoff Jenkins sees it, he became the answer to a trivia question Sunday. Who hit the first home run in the history of Coca Cola Park?

The Phillies, one day before they open the 2008 season against the Washington Nationals, beat their Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 5-3 in the first exhibition game before a capacity crowd at the new 10,188-seat ballpark in Allentown, Pa.

Jenkins, who signed a $13 million, two-year contract as a free agent in December, drove in the first runs with a two-run home run to right-center field in the second inning against Lehigh Valley starter Ron Chiavacci.

"Retire the jersey," Jenkins joked. "I guess I'll be in Trivial Pursuit."

Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, who bypassed Triple A when he got called up to the majors in June, tossed five scoreless innings in his final tuneup for the season after posting a 9.68 ERA in five spring-training starts.

Kendrick, a 23-year-old right-hander, allowed four hits and struck out seven. His career-high strikeout total is six last Sept. 22 against Washington.

"I guess you could say it was my Triple-A debut," said Kendrick, who would rather not see Allentown again this season. "I'm still not where I need to be, but this was better. I just wanted to get the ball down, and I threw my sinker and slider down more."

Phillies starters each got two at-bats before heading back to Philadelphia. Jimmy Rollins picked up the first hit at Coca Cola Park, a first-inning single. He stole second base, went to third on a wild pitch and was thrown out trying to score on a fly ball.

"I just wanted to get loose and make sure I feel good for tomorrow," said Rollins, who finished 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Mostly, though, the Phillies wanted to emerge from the exhibition without any injuries. Manager Charlie Manuel was looking ahead to Mondays season-opener, as the Phillies begin their defense of the National League East title against the Washington Nationals.

"I'm ready to start the season," Manuel said. "I've been listening to our players, and we've got some veteran guys, some experienced guys. They say they're ready. Well, let's see it."