Like his season in the Minor Leagues this year, Phillies prospect Tyson Gillies started slowly in International action before finishing fast -- very fast.
Gillies fell just a home run short of the cycle as Canada toppled Great Britain, 11-1, in seven innings on Thursday, Day 1 of the World Baseball Classic's qualifying round in Regensburg, Germany.
The WBC competitors will next play Saturday in separate games opposing the Czech Republic and host Germany.
Gillies, a native of Vancouver, led off for his country's club and went 3-for-5 at the plate. He singled on a second-inning bunt before doubling and tripling in Canada's eight-run seventh frame. His two-run three-bagger increased Great Britain's deficit to 10, ending the game early on a mercy rule.
The 23-year-old center fielder batted .304 in 68 games with Philadelphia's Double-A affiliate, Reading, in 2012. One of three prospects sent from Seattle in the 2009 trade for All-Star lefty Cliff Lee, Gillies has played just 106 games the past three seasons due to injuries and off-the-diamond troubles.
Gillies grounded out in his first at-bat opposing starter Chris Reed, the third-ranked Dodgers prospect, who was charged with two runs on two hits over 2 2/3 frames. He walked two and struck out two.
The London-born Reed (0-1) went 1-8 and compiled a 3.97 ERA in his first full season in the Minors, 19 games (17 starts) split between Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga.
Canada starter Shawn Hill, a 31-year-old right-hander hailing from southern Ontario, struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. A member of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons in 2012, Hill (1-0) also had the fortune of a supportive offense. In addition to Gillies, veteran Minor Leaguers Chris Robinson (catcher) and right fielder Adam Loewen (right fielder) contributed two hits apiece, and Jimmy Van Ostrand (first baseman) clubbed a two-run homer.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.