PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Maikel Franco keeps producing like a cleanup hitter from the bottom of the lineup.
Franco hit a bases-clearing double in the seventh, Rhys Hoskins homered and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on Wednesday night.
Aaron Nola pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball, helping the Phillies earn a split of their two-game interleague series. The ace right-hander allowed seven hits and struck out six.
NL East-leading Philadelphia had scored one run or less in five of the previous nine games and had a tough time against Tigers starter Daniel Norris, who gave up one run and five hits in five innings.
But the offense tagged Detroit’s bullpen for six runs in two innings.
After Ronny Rodriguez gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead in the seventh with an RBI single off Seranthony Dominguez (2-0), the Phillies answered in the bottom half. J.T. Realmuto hit a one-out double to right off Buck Farmer (1-2) and Sean Rodriguez was hit by a pitch on his hand. Daniel Stumpf entered and Cesar Hernandez singled to load the bases.
Franco then ripped a liner to right-center off Victor Alcantara to put Philadelphia ahead 4-2. Franco, who has primarily batted out of the eighth spot in the lineup, is tied with Hoskins for the team lead with 25 RBIs.
“I feel comfortable, I don’t try to do too much and just go out and help my team,” Franco said.
The Phillies pursued Manny Machado in free agency before he went to San Diego and they signed Bryce Harper to a $330 million contract. If Machado came to Philadelphia, he would have taken Franco’s spot at third base.
Franco, who mostly batted in the middle of the order before this season, has adjusted well to his new spot. He has 23 of his RBIs batting eighth.
“Last year, against a hard sinkerball pitcher, that was a ground ball to the left side,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco’s big hit. “He put a lot of effort into his swing mechanics and is using the whole field.”
Jordy Mercer homered against Pat Neshek in the eighth to cut it to 5-3. Hoskins connected off Zac Reininger in the bottom half and Phil Gosselin capped the scoring with a pinch-hit RBI double.
“We were 1-1 against a very good team and had a chance to sweep,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Hernandez’s RBI single in the second gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
Jacoby Jones hit an RBI single on Nola’s 100th and final pitch to tie it at 1. Nola took a four-hitter into the sixth before running into trouble.
“I felt pretty strong but I threw a couple hanging ones they hit,” Nola said. “Obviously, I want to go deeper in games. All I can do is compete.”
MIGGY MOVES UP
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera singled in the fourth for his 2,706th career hit, passing Doc Cramer for 68th place in major league history. Cabrera is five hits shy of tying Billy Williams for 67th.
Tigers: An MRI on second baseman Josh Harrison’s left shoulder was negative. Harrison was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday.
Phillies: Rodriguez left the game after he was hit. … Infielder Scott Kingery started running Wednesday. He has been on the injury list with a right hamstring strain since April 20.
Tigers: Following an off day, LHP Matthew Boyd (2-2, 3.13 ERA) takes the mound Friday night at home against Kansas City to begin a six-game homestand. RHP Jorge Lopez (0-2, 5.08 ERA) pitches for the Royals in the opener of a three-game set.
Phillies: After a day off, RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 2.12 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Nationals on Friday night. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 5.82 ERA) goes for Washington.
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