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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Franco drives in game winner as Phillies beat Nationals

Phillies Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco drove in the winning run in the seventh inning to lift the Phillies past the Nationals.
Maikel Franco provided a scare after launching a tie-breaking double off the wall in center field in the seventh inning of the Phillies 4-3 victory over the Nationals on Tuesday night at Nationals Park.

Rounding first base, Franco stumbled and fell to the ground and hobbled into second. Medical staff huddled around him but he was adamant about remaining in the game. Thankfully for the Phillies, the injury was categorized as nothing more than a sprained right ankle.

"We were joking with him about it," Andres Blanco said. "It was scary for a bit, though."

Blanco led the Phillies offense, launching a two-run home run in the opening frame and falling a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He also accounted for the winning run, scoring on Franco's seventh inning double after reaching on a one-out double of his own to left.

Vincent Velasquez tossed six innings for the Phillies, throwing 84 pitches en route to secure his third win of the season. He surrendered three runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out four.

"I'm not comparing him to [Roy] Halladay, but I didn't like the way he pitched and he only gave up three runs," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I remember sitting with [former Phillies coach] Sam Perlozzo after a game and I'd say, 'Boy, [Halladay] was terrible tonight and he only gave up three runs.' That's how good he was."

Jeanmar Gomez had to get through Bryce Harper with the tying run on base to close the game out. He won an eight pitch battle inducing a grounder to third.

"That last out," Gomez said. "That was just a fun battle."

Harper finished the night with three walks - two intentional - and pushed his OPS to 1.274.

The victory evened the Phillies record at 10-10.

"Things are clicking a bit," Mackanin said. "I'm pleased with how things are going right now."
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com