FRANCO'S BAT HELPS PHILS TO WIN IN MILWAUKEE
Maikel Franco hit two home runs, driving in three as the Phillies beat Milwaukee 5-2 in the series opener at Miller Park. It was the first time this season that the Phillies (8-9) won the opening game of a series. Franco's first home run of the night came off Zach Davies and was a two-run shot to left field and he followed that up with a blast to left center field that cleared the Brewers bullpen. Franco now has four home runs on the season and finished the night with three hits to up his season average to .274.
Starter Aaron Nola gave up a first inning run, before he settled in to give the Phillies seven innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out seven. The outing lowered Nola's season ERA to 4.50 on the season. Hector Neris stretched his scoreless innings streak to 10 1/3 innings with a shutout inning, setting up Jeanmar Gomez to pitch the ninth. Gomez allowed a run, but worked out of trouble in his one inning.
The Phillies other runs came on an RBI single from Darin Ruf that scored Cameron Rupp with the Phillies first run in the top of the fourth. Freddy Galvis tripled with one out in the fifth to drive in Odubel Herrera and then scored on Franco's first home run of the night.
WP: A.Nola (1-2, 4.50), LP: Z. Davies (0-2, 9.72), SV: none
HR: M. Franco 2 (4)
IRONPIGS MISS A CHANCE TO TAKE DIVISION LEAD
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs missed an opportunity to hold the lead in the International League's North Division for the first time since July of 2012 when they dropped a 6-5 decision to the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Zach Eflin was pounded for five runs in the first inning, but was able to right himself and wound up pitching six innings and didn't allow another run after the first. Eflin's offense chipped away at Pawtucket in the middle innings to tie the game 5-5 in the top of the sixth. Angelys Nina led off the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Taylor Featherston and Ryan Jackson, who followed Nina's double with a single of his own was moved around the bases and eventually scored on a single from Nick Williams.
Reliever Colton Murray (0-1, 9.45) came on in relief of Eflin in the seventh and allowed a single, stolen base and a double, all with two outs to allow the PawSox to take a 6-5 lead and their bullpen was able to lock down the win.
Williams finished the night 3-for-4 with a walk and Tommy Joseph went 3-for-5 with a home run to up his average to an even .400 on the season.
Lehigh Valley (8-7) came into the game just 1/2 game behind Pawtucket for the division lead. They haven't held the top spot in the North Division since July 19, 2012, 1,379 days ago.
WP: Kyle Martin (2-0), LP: C. Murray (0-1), SV: Roman Mendez (1)
HR: T. Joseph (3)
VASQUEZ PITCHES READING TO 6-3 WIN OVER NEW HAMPSHIRE AT HOME
Starter Anthony Vasquez (3-0, 1.74) allowed just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings of work and Edubray Ramos picked up his fourth save of the season for the Reading Fightin' Phils. Vasquez got the first out in the seventh, but then gave up a single, followed by an error by shortstop J.P. Crawford put runners on the corners. Jeremy Bleich worked out of the jam by getting two groundballs back to the mound, preserving what was a 5-2 lead at the time.
Ramos came on in the eighth and got two groundball outs and then set down the Fisher Cats in the ninth to earn the save.
Reading used power to score their runs, pounding out four home runs in the game. Jake Fox, Roman Quinn and Dylan Cozens all hit solo home runs and Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run home run for Reading. Cozens finished the night 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Jason Berken, who pitched for Lehigh Valley last season, was the losing pitcher for New Hampshire.
Reading is now 10-5 on the season.
WP: A. Vasquez (3-0), LP: Jason Berken (0-3), SV: E. Ramos (4)
HR: J. Fox (4), R. Quinn (1), R. Hoskins (2), D. Cozens (4)
BASES LOADED WALK PLATES THE WINNING RUN FOR CLEARWATER
With the game tied 1-1 in the eighth inning, Scott Kingery worked a walk with the bases loaded to put the Threshers up 2-1. Reliever Jesen Therrien threw the final two innings to get the win for Clearwater, but it wasn't without some tense moments.
With one out in the ninth and a runner on second, George Iskendderian singled up the middle and center fielder Carlos Tocci came up throwing to cut down Clint Coulter, who attempted to score on the play.
Starter Elniery Garcia threw seven innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out seven hitters without walking anybody, but wound up with a no-decision. Garcia came into the game without having allowed a run in 12 innings of work and stretched that to 15 innings before allowing a run in the fourth. On the season, Garcia's ERA now stands at 0.47.
WP: J. Therrien (1-1), LP: Josh Uhen (0-1), SV: none
LAKEWOOD COMES UP SHORT IN SLUGFEST WITH GREENSBORO
Lakewood and Greensboro combined for 19 runs on 26 hits, but the Grasshoppers were able to hang on for a 10-9 win, dropping the BlueClaws to just 3-13 on the season.
Lakewood put up four runs in the second, with Austin Bossart and Josh Tobias both homering in the inning, giving the 'Claws a 5-1 lead. They expanded the lead to 6-1 in the fourth on a solo home run from Jan Hernandez. Starter Luke Leftwich left after four innings of work, with Alberto Tirado coming on to pitch in the fifth and Greensboro got their bats into the game, scoring four runs off Tirado.
The BlueClaws struck right back in the top of the sixth when they went to work on reliever L.J. Brewster. Bossart was hit by a pitch and Hernandez followed with a single and Grenny Cumana drew a walk to load the bases. One out later, Tobias plated two runs with a double and a fielder's choice by Wilson Garcia pushed across the third run of the inning, giving Lakewood a 9-5 lead.
WP: Ben Holmes (1-0), LP: R. Tasin (0-3), SV: C.J. Robinson (3)
HR: J. Hernandez (2), J. Tobias (2), A. Bossart (1)
IN OTHER NEWS... Left-hander James Russell cleared waivers and was outrighted to Lehigh Valley on Friday. Russell was designated for assignment Wednesday when the Phillies recalled reliever Andrew Bailey from the IronPigs.