PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Maikel Franco took such a wild corkscrew cut, his helmet tumbled off his head.
“I think last year, I lost my helmet like 20, 25 times,” he said. “I’m working on it.”
Franco took a breath, relaxed and used an easy swing that kept his equipment in place and slammed the ball into the seats.
Franco hit his second grand slam of the month, helping the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 7-4 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.
“I just try to calm down, try to see the ball and put a good contact on it,” Franco said.
Franco connected off Wei-Yen Chen (2-1) in the third inning with a shot to left-center for a 4-2 lead. With two runners on, Odubel Herrera singled to load the bases. Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez was held up by third base coach Juan Samuel to load the bases.
Franco, who had three hits, made up for the conservative baserunning with his fourth homer of the season.
“I’ll take him to dinner,” Franco said, laughing.
He also hit a grand slam in a 5-4 loss to the New York Mets on April 12.
The Phillies won a game against the Mets, swept a three-game set against Atlanta and beat the Marlins in front of a solid crowd on $1 hot dog night for the modest winning streak. The Phillies (10-9) are above .500 for the first time since an opening day victory.
“It’s good to see the guys have the fight in them and not worry about it and keep moving forward,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
Velasquez (1-2) went 6 1/3 innings in his longest outing of the season and struck out three while lowering his ERA to 6.33.
Freddy Galvis hit a solo shot for the Phillies, and Michael Saunders added a two-run homer in the eighth.
Because of scheduled days off and a rainout, both teams played for the first time since Sunday. Minus the All-Star break, the Phillies hadn’t had consecutive days off during a season in three years, and they needed a couple of innings to knock off the rust.
Dee Gordon tripled off Velasquez on the first pitch of the game and later scored, and Martin Prado’s second homer of the year made it 2-0 in the third.
All three Miami pitchers gave up home runs. The staff has allowed 29 this season.
“It concerns me a little. We’ll get it straightened out,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Marlins: LHP Jeff Locke is getting closer to a rehab assignment as he recovers from left biceps tendinitis. Mattingly said Locke has had no setbacks but was still “a few weeks away.”
Phillies: RHP Clay Buchholz may pitch again this season. Buchholz, a two-time All-Star, had surgery last week to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm. He hopes to pitch again in September. In the final year of a contract that pays him $13.5 million this season, Buchholz is 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA in two starts with the Phillies.
“I definitely don’t feel like I’m done playing,” he said. “I’ve stayed healthy for the most part. This is the first issue that involved a surgery for me.”
Buchholz said he apologized to teammates and management for the injury that threw a wrench in the rotation.
“I was brought here for a reason,” he said. “I wanted to pitch. I wanted to be good.”
Mackanin spent his free time catching up on movies. He found the Matt Damon flick “The Great Wall” interesting. “There’s only so much baseball you can watch,” he said.
Mattingly zipped back to his hotel Tuesday night so he could watch the NBA playoffs.
Mattingly said he wasn’t worried about the potential sale of the Marlins. Multiple groups have submitted bids to buy the team, including one fronted by former Yankees great Derek Jeter.
“We’ve just go to keep going until something actually happens,” Mattingly said. “We feel like we’ve got a good club with lots to accomplish. That can only really get in the way.”
Marlins: RHP Edinson Volquez (0-2, 4.82 ERA) looks to win for the first time in five starts.
Phillies: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (3-0, 1.88) tries to stay unbeaten in his free-agent season.
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