Francoeur lends bullpen a hand with 2 innings
Outfielder tallies strikeout in perfect seventh inning
BALTIMORE -- Only Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur could silence the Orioles' offense for an inning Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
He pitched two innings in a 19-3 loss to the Orioles, becoming the first Phillies position player to appear in a game since Casper Wells in 2013. Francoeur pitched a perfect seventh inning, which was the first and only inning Baltimore did not score a run. He then allowed two runs in the eighth as Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg tried to squeeze an extra inning out of his right fielder in the blowout loss, which capped the franchise's first winless road trip (0-8) of eight or more games since 1883 (0-9).
"I was able to save the bullpen," Francoeur said. "I wanted to do it."
Francoeur, who pitched 7 1/3 innings last season with Triple-A El Paso, retired the side in order in the seventh, striking out Nolan Reimold looking, getting Chris Parmelee to ground out and getting Steve Pearce to line out. But Frenchy allowed a homer to Ryan Flaherty to start the eighth. He then hit Caleb Joseph with a pitch and walked Matt Wieters and Travis Snider to load the bases.
Francoeur clearly tired as his pitch count increased, but the Phillies had nobody warming up in the bullpen.
There was a reason for that: the bullpen phone was off the hook.
Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure started to wave a towel toward the bullpen to get somebody's attention. Bullpen coach Rod Nichols finally put the phone on the hook and the Phillies got Ken Giles to warm up, although Francoeur finished the inning.
"It was a fun experience," Francoeur said. "I got tired at the end there, obviously, but I was able to save the bullpen."
Phillies first baseman Chase Utley was upset that the Phillies left Francoeur in the game because the last thing the team needed was Francoeur to suffer a serious injury pitching a second inning in a meaningless game.
"He knew I was getting tired," Francoeur said. "He didn't want me to blow out or hurt for the rest of the season. But like I said, that was just enough. I don't think I could have done any more."