MIAMI (AP) — Maikel Franco had a different approach during batting practice before the game and it paid off.
Franco had three hits, including a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning, to help lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
“The three hits, the home run, he had a different approach in batting practice, which was obvious to me,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He really concentrated on staying above the ball and leveling off his swing and it paid off in that game.”
National League home run leader Giancarlo Stanton hit his 29th for the Marlins, who have lost four of five and had just five hits.
“It was a game where we shut down offensively,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Franco’s homer to left field off Dustin McGowan (5-1) was his 14th of the season and it broke a 2-all tie.
Nick Williams added a two-run homer in the ninth to cap the scoring.
“I wasn’t happy about that,” Mackanin joked. “I like the tension with a one-run lead. But, no, it was great to see especially against a left-hander. Great to see. He stayed on the ball, it was up in the zone and he crushed it.”
Cameron Perkins drove in two runs for the Phillies and Pat Neshek (3-2) pitched a scoreless seventh for the victory.
Joaquin Benoit tossed the eighth and Hector Neris pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 12 opportunities.
“The bullpen did a great job, all three of them,” Mackanin said. “That was one of the easiest save that Neris has shown us this year, which was nice to see.”
It was the fifth time this season Franco has recorded at least three hits. He is 9 for 21 (.429) in his last five games since the All-Star Break.
Philadelphia starter Vince Velasquez made his first start since May 30, also against the Marlins, due to a right elbow flexor strain. Velasquez allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
“I felt really good,” Velasquez said. “From the get-go pretty much pitching to contact trying to get early outs. The last time, trying to get over that hump, having the injury and it’s kind of tough mentally, but you’ve got to lock in and have that right mindset and attack hitters.”
Miami’s Adam Conley made his return to the big leagues with his first start since May 8 after 12 starts with Triple-A New Orleans. Conley allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Conley said. “I love the direction I’m headed but I still have a lot of work to do. Obviously, there’s been benefits to the work I’ve been doing.”
Stanton hit a solo home run to left-center field in the first giving him five in his last six games.
The Marlins scored a run on a wild pitch by Velasquez.
Perkins had two RBI singles to tie the game at 2 through four innings.
“In the end everything went our way,” Mackanin said.
WILLIAMS SHOWS IMPRESSIVE POWER
Williams’ third home run of the season was an impressive opposite field shot to left-center field off left-handed pitcher Jarlin Garcia.
“You don’t see many home runs hit by a left-hander in that part of the ballpark,” Mackanin said. “He really crushed that ball. He has well above average power. Good to see that. He’s just on a high. He’s feeling good about himself and I hope he continues the rest of the year and swinging the bat extremely well.”
ICHIRO MOVES UP ON ALL-TIME LIST
Ichiro Suzuki had a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning for his 3,056th career hit moving into sole possession of 23rd place on the all-time list passing Rickey Henderson. He is four shy of tying Craig Biggio.
Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (2-5, 5.63 ERA) is scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale. Pivetta is coming off his worst start of the season allowing nine runs and seven hits in five innings at Milwaukee.
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (7-4, 3.32 ERA) will take the mound looking to build on his recent success. Straily is 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA over his last six starts.