Franco walk-off gives Phillies a boost heading into tough series with Dodgers

Maikel Franco hits walk-off homer for Phillies
It's fitting that on a day where the Phillies celebrated one of their most prolific home run hitters that the club secures a win via a walk-off tater.

Maikel Franco deposited a Matt Grace sinker into the seats in left to lift the Phillies to a much needed 4-3 win over the Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park as the organization celebrated the retirement of Ryan Howard.

The blast was Franco's second career walk-off homer and the 100th homer of his career.

"That's a great game today, we just have to keep it going tomorrow," said Franco. "I got the pitch I was looking for, I got a fastball middle-in and I knew right away I put something on it as soon as I swung the bat."

The win gives the Phillies a bit of momentum as the National League-best Dodgers come to Citizens Bank Park for four games beginning Monday night.

Jake Arrieta, battling a bone spur in his throwing elbow, toughed out a solid five innings while surrendering one run on four hits. His velocity hovered around 93 mph over the first two innings but dipped as the afternoon went on.



“What did 85 percent of Jake look like for us? That's it, right?” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “It's a guy who can fight through some discomfort. It's a guy who can fight through not being at his best but can still give us a chance to win. Really impressive, gusty, resilient effort by Jake.”

Arrieta admitted the cutter is the most painful pitch to execute with the spur.

“That’s probably the pitch that has hurt the most and it has been most affected by this bone spur,” Arrieta said. “I’m attempting to throw that pitch the same as I always have, but I’m just not able to get it to do what I usually am able to get it to do. The break isn’t there. I’ll use it certain times, but any time I have to turn my hand sideways on the curveball or the cutter, it gives me some issues.”

It's unrealistic to think Arrieta can go out every fifth day and pitch through the pain and limit opponents to one run on four hits, so others in the rotation will need to step up to limit the pressure on him and the bullpen.

“I think the group in here can do it,” Arrieta said. “We just need more productivity out of some of our guys. It’s plain and simple. It’s easy to always look outside for the solution. It might be cliché, but we have the guys here that can continue to win on a consistent basis, we just need to perform and that’s really all there is to it.”
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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