Phillies Minor League Report: Maikel Franco homers twice during Reading victory
Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Triple A
A late-inning rally lifted the IronPigs to a series-opening victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox, 4-3, at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I.
The Red Sox used one run in the second inning and two more in the third to take a 3-0 lead over the IronPigs.
The Red Sox recorded those three runs against Lehigh Valley starter Greg Smith, who still managed to put together a solid outing.
Along with the three runs, Smith surrendered four hits. Smith walked four batters.
Smith finished his outing with three consecutive scoreless innings before handing the ball to B.J. Rosenberg in the top of the seventh.
Rosenberg (3-6) was credited with the victory and along with Mauricio Robles, held the Red Sox to only one hit in 2 2/3 combined innings.
The IronPigs began their comeback in the top of the fifth when they plated two runs to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Catcher Cameron Rupp got the offense rolling with a one-out single to left field. After a walk from center fielder Tyson Gillies, left fielder Leandro Castro hit a single to load the bases.
Two batters later, third baseman Cody Asche continued his recent streak of production at the plate with a single to center field that plated both Rupp and Gillies.
The IronPigs trailed the Red Sox until the top of the eighth when they scored two more runs.
Castro led off the inning with a single. After sacrifice-bunt from shortstop Freddy Galvis and a groundout from Asche, first baseman Cody Overbeck hit his 24th double of the season, which brought home Castro and tied the game, 3-3.
During the next at-bat, designated hitter Josh Fields hit a single to right field that plated Overbeck and gave the IronPigs their first lead of the game.
Robles shut the door on the Red Sox in the ninth to collect his fourth save of the season.
Castro (2-for-5) was the only IronPig to record multiple hits Friday as the IronPigs recorded only seven overall.
The average offensive showing was overshadowed by a strong pitching performance from the Lehigh Valley staff that allowed only five hits.
The IronPigs did not allow a hit when the Red Sox had a runner in scoring position.
Lehigh Valley will take the field for the second of its four-game set against the Red Sox at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. Left-hander Adam Morgan (1-5, 4.73 ERA) will get the
Reading Fightin Phils – Double A
Two homers from third baseman Maikel Franco powered the Fightin Phils past the New Britain Rock Cats, 7-2, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading.
Franco continued his fantastic season with Reading with his sixth and seventh homers of the season, which helped him drive in five runs Friday.
He finished the day 3-for-4 from the plate and increased his batting average to .370 since joining the Fightin Phils. He also has an OPS of .988.
Between Clearwater and Reading this year, Franco is batting .322 with 23 homers and 77 RBI, 25 of which have come with Reading.
Franco got his big night started immediately when he hit his first homer of the affair in top of the first. The homer tied the game, 1-1.
The Fightin Phils eventually took the lead thanks to a two-run homer from left fielder Kelly Dugan.
The Rock Cats made the score 3-2 thanks to an RBI-single in the top of the sixth from first baseman Dan Rohlfing.
Franco struck again in the bottom half of the frame with single to left field that plated designated hitter Albert Cartwright and give the Fightin Phils a 4-2 advantage.
Franco tacked on Reading’s insurance runs with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the eighth as he hit a three-run homer over the left field wall.
Dugan and Cartwright posted productive nights from the plate as they both went 2-for-4.
Despite allowing 10 hits, the Reading pitching staff did enough to keep the Rock Cats off the scoreboard for most of the contest.
Seven of those 10 hits came off starter Mario Hollands. Hollands surrendered the only two runs as well, but also recorded five strikeouts and earned the victory.
Bobby Bramhall, Colby Shreve and Juan Sosa all pitched an inning apiece and gave up only three hits between them.
The Fightin Phils will look to make it three in a row over the Rock Cats at 6:35 p.m. Saturday with Seth Rosin (8-4, 4.46 ERA) scheduled to get the start.
Clearwater Threshers – Class A-Advanced
For the second night in a row, the Threshers did not take advantage of timely hitting and it cost them.
Thursday, center fielder Jiwan James went 3-for-4 from the plate, but the Threshers were shut out.
Friday, right fielder Cameron Perkins, left fielder Aaron Altherr and first baseman Brock Stassi all recorded multiple hits, but the Threshers fell to the Fort Myers Miracle, 7-3, at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla.
The Threshers fell into an early hole courtesy of three runs from the Miracle in the bottom of the second.
The Threshers weren’t able to plate a run until the top of the fourth when Altherr led off the inning with his 10th home run of the season.
The Miracle answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame to make the score 4-1.
The Miracle scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, which ended the night of Clearwater starter Nick Hernandez.
Hernandez (3-4) was pulled after 4 1/3 innings of work where he gave up six runs (all earned) on nine hits and walked four batters.
Trailing 6-1 heading into the top of the sixth, the Threshers made a slight attempt at a comeback thanks to an RBI-double from Stassi and an RBI-single from shortstop Jonathan Roof that made the score 6-3.
But it proved to be not enough as the Miracle tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to polish off another win.
Perkins went 2-for-3 Friday with a double. Stassi finished his night from the plate 2-for-4 with an RBI. Altherr went 2-for-5 with a homer.
Roof and second baseman Carlos Alonso accounted for the other two Clearwater hits.
After dropping the first two of the four-game set against the Miracle, the Threshers look to finally get back in the win column at 6:05 p.m. Saturday. Perci Garner (6-3, 3.69 ERA) will get the ball for the Threshers.
Lakewood BlueClaws – Class A
The BlueClaws ended their four-game losing streak by topping the Greenville Drive, 7-6, Friday at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood Township, N.J.
It looked as if the BlueClaws were well on their way to their fifth consecutive loss when they trailed the Drive, 4-0, after two innings.
The BlueClaws slowly chipped away their deficit beginning in the bottom of the third.
Right fielder Brian Pointer led off the frame with a single to right field. Catcher Chace Numata followed Pointer with another single to right. Pointer advanced all the way to third base on the play.
Shortstop Angelo More grounded out during the next at-bat, but Pointer was still able to cross the plate for the BlueClaws’ first run.
The BlueClaws cut their deficit to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth when second baseman Alejandro Villalobos hit an RBI-single to right.
Lakewood completely turned the tide during the bottom of the fifth when it put up five runs to surge past the Drive.
After back-to-back walks from Numata and Mora, center fielder Carlos Tocci hit a single to load the bases.
This prompted the Drive to pull starting pitcher Francis Montas for reliever Yunior Ortega.
Ortega was then called for a balk, which advanced the runners and brought Numata home to make the score 4-3.
During the same at-bat, designated hitter Willie Carmona hit yet another RBI-single to right field that tied the game, 4-4.
First baseman Art Charles followed Carmona with his 24th double of the season that scored both Tocci and Carmona and gave the BlueClaws their first lead of the game at 6-4.
Charles advanced all the way to third by way of a throwing error from Greenville right fielder Kendrick Perkins.
Third baseman Mitch Walding brought Charles home during the next at-bat with another single to right field to cap off the scoring.
The Drive did not go quietly into the night, however, as they plated a run during the top of the sixth and another in the top of the ninth.
But Zach Cooper was able to hold off the Drive in the ninth and collect his second save of the season.
Starter Miguel Nunez posted a shaky outing Friday. Nunez allowed four runs on six hits during his five innings on the mound. Despite his sub-par performance, Nunez earned the decision, which pushed his record to 8-7.
Geoff Broussard threw three innings in relief of Nunez where he gave up only one run on five hits.
Offensively, the BlueClaws boasted five different players that recorded at least one RBI.
Charles led the team with two as he finished his night 2-for-4 from the plate. Charles has driven in a team-leading 51 runs with the BlueClaws this season.
The BlueClaws will try to go one up on the Drive in their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Nic Hanson (2-2, 2.76 ERA) will take the hill for the BlueClaws.
Williamsport Crosscutters – Class A-Short Season
The Crosscutters dropped the first of a quick two-game set against the Jamestown Jammers, 4-3, Friday at Bowman Field in Williamsport.
The loss dropped the Crosscutters (20-17) to four games behind the Jammers (24-13) for first place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.
The Crosscutters actually held a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the sixth, but two runs from the Jammers put them behind for good.
The Crosscutters took their first lead of the game during the bottom of the first when designated hitter Andrew Knapp hit a two-run homer to give them a 2-1 advantage. Knapp’s homer was his first of the season.
The Jammers tied the game back up with a run in the top of the fourth. The Jammers’ lead was short-lived as the Crosscutters took their second lead of the game in the bottom half of the inning thanks to an RBI-single from first baseman Logan Pierce.
Jamestown’s final two runs came at the expense of relief pitcher Mark Meadors who also gave up five hits during his 2 1/3 innings on the mound. Because of those two runs, Meadors was handed his first loss of the season.
Starter Yacksel Rios posted a solid outing Friday. Rios surrendered two runs on five hits and struck out four batters during his four innings of work.
The Crosscutters recorded only five hits from five different batters against the Jamestown pitching staff.
Knapp posted the best outing with his homer and two RBI.
The Crosscutters will try to even up the quick series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday with Julio Reyes (1-0, 3.75 ERA) taking the mound for the start.