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Francoeur sparks offense, lapses on defense

Phillies outfielder homers and drives in two, but makes critical error

PHILADELPHIA -- Jeff Francoeur provided most of the Phillies' entertainment in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park.

Francoeur hit a solo home run to left field against Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg in the second inning and singled to score a run in the sixth inning in a 3-2 loss. They were two of the four hits Strasburg allowed in seven innings.

Video: WSH@PHI: Francoeur lifts an RBI single to center

"You've got to like that," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said about Francoeur's offensive performance.

But then Francoeur twice mishandled a ball in right field in the fifth inning, which set up the Nationals' game-tying run. Denard Span hit a one-out double to the wall, and Francoeur bobbled and dropped the ball when he reached it. He then threw the ball about three feet in front of him -- the ball slipped out of his hands -- which allowed Span to reach third.

Span scored on Danny Espinosa's sacrifice fly to tie the game.

"The error, the dropped ball in right field -- twice -- didn't help," Mackanin said.

Video: WSH@PHI: Francoeur's toss lands right in front of him

Mackanin chose to start Francoeur over Domonic Brown against Strasburg. Brown started Game 2 against Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark. Francoeur entered Sunday hitting .253 with nine doubles, one triple, four home runs and 21 RBIs and a .689 OPS in 57 games. Brown had hit .179 with three doubles, three RBIs and a .561 OPS in 11 games.

Why not play the platoon in both games, starting Brown twice?

"Brown doesn't have numbers for me to justify to playing him against a righty or a lefty," Mackanin said. "Francoeur has been a pretty good player for us. He split up the righties and lefties for us. Once again, with a doubleheader I wanted to get everybody in the games. It worked out pretty good, or so it seemed."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Read More: Philadelphia Phillies, Jeff Francoeur