Franco locked in, taking Bronx by storm
NEW YORK -- Maikel Franco is making a heck of a name for himself in the Bronx.
He went 2-for-3 with one double, one home run, one walk and five RBIs in the Phillies' 11-8 victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. He hit a three-run home run to right field in the fourth inning to become the first Phillies rookie to hit 10 home runs in 37 or fewer games since Buzz Arlett (33 games) in 1933. Franco then ripped a game-winning two-run double down the left-field line in the ninth inning against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, becoming the first Phillies player to have back-to-back five-RBI games since the statistic became official in 1920.
"I don't even know," Franco said, asked when he has felt this good at the plate. "I'm just like locked in right now and I'm just in a good moment. I see a lot of good pitches to hit, and that's what's happening right now."
Franco is 6-for-8 with two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs in two games against the Yankees.
The kid looks legit.
The Yankees seem to have noticed. Coincidence or not, Yankees left-hander Justin Wilson drilled Franco with a 95-mph fastball to start the top of the seventh inning. It was Franco's first at-bat following his three-run homer.
"I don't think it fazed him," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Franco is hitting .319 (46-for-144) with nine doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 29 RBIs and a .972 OPS. He almost single-handedly has helped the Phillies score nine or more runs in three consecutive games for the first time since July 29-30, 2006, when they scored 32 runs over three games in two days against Florida.
Franco's homer in the fourth carried into the short porch in right field, but he ripped a breaking ball against Betances in the ninth. Betances had been dominant this season. He entered the night 4-0 with a 0.26 ERA, striking out 57 batters in 35 innings.
"I'm just thinking about adjustments," Franco said. "I knew he was going to throw me a lot of breaking pitches."
Franco smiled easily in the clubhouse afterward. Why wouldn't he be? He is on fire offensively, and his family got to watch his heroics in person.
"I'm just in a great moment right now," he said. "I want to preserve the moment. I want to have fun."