Francoeur snaps homer drought, lifts Phils past Red Sox
By Ian Browne and Todd Zolecki
PHILADELPHIA -- It had been a long time for the Phillies and Jeff Francoeur.
Francoeur hit a three-run home run off Rick Porcello to left-center field in the sixth inning, giving the Phillies a 4-2 victory over the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night. They were the first runs the Phillies scored this season -- snapping a 14-inning scoreless streak -- and the first home run Francoeur hit in the big leagues since June 16, 2013, when he played for the Royals.
"I hammered it," Francoeur said about the ball hit on a windy and rainy night that registered just 40 degrees at first pitch. "Actually, I was like, 'I hope it goes.' It was tough tonight with the wind and rain. But we battled through it, and that's the key."
The Red Sox scored twice in the eighth inning when Ken Giles walked three batters to help force in a run. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon got out of the bases-loaded jam, but only when Hanley Ramirez flew out to the warning track in left-center.
"Yep," Ramirez said, when asked if he thought he had a grand slam. "The wind is something that I can't control. We've just got to come back tomorrow and get it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Frenchy goes deep: Francoeur entered Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, but the veteran made the Phillies' Opening Day roster because he was one of the only right-handed bats in the organization with a potential for power, and because he can play solid defense in right field. That decision paid off Wednesday. More >
Ramirez just misses historic slam: Two days after becoming just the third player in Red Sox history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day, Ramirez nearly became the first to do it in the first two games of the season. With the Red Sox down, 4-2, Ramirez stepped to the plate against Papelbon with two outs in the eighth and drilled one to deep left. But it was flagged down in front of the wall by Ben Revere. The Red Sox also had some misfortune in the seventh when Mike Napoli hit a bullet to shortstop. Dustin Pedroia was off with the pitch on the 3-2 count and was doubled off to end the inning.
"I like the way our guys continue to battle back," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We mounted a couple of threats in the seventh and the eighth and came up short." More >
Harang deals in debut: Right-hander Aaron Harang allowed two hits, one walk and struck out eight in 6 1/3 scoreless innings. The Phillies certainly hope there are more starts like this from Harang, who signed a reasonable one-year, $5 million contract in December.
"You don't want to come in and be the goat," Harang said about his first start with Philadelphia. More >
Porcello mainly solid in first start with Sox: Though the three-run homer by Francoeur put Porcello in the loss column in his first start with the Red Sox, the righty was dominant in his first five innings. The performance came just two days after the righty signed a four-year, $82.5 million contract extension. More >
Giles' struggles concerning: The Phillies setup man could not get out of the eighth inning, walking three batters and allowing two runs, both unearned. His fastball topped out at 96 mph. The right-hander said he is healthy, but he has not looked like himself all spring. More >
Papelbon not feeling Philly: The right-hander bailed out Giles in the eighth and picked up the 107th save of his Phillies career. Papelbon is five shy of tying Jose Mesa for the franchise record. Papelbon told The Boston Globe before the game he doesn't "really feel much like a Phillie." Will he once he breaks the record? More >
"A lot of hitting is getting confidence. You get beat down, man. Two thousand and thirteen took a lot out of me to be honest with you. ... Even last year, just go out in Triple-A, but just to have fun again and play again. Like I said, when I hit that one today, it was pretty cool just for the whole fact that you grind and you battle in this game, and when you get an opportunity you try to make the most of it." -- Francoeur
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Chase Utley picked up the 887th RBI of his career with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. It tied Jimmy Rollins for fifth place on the franchise's all-time RBIs list.
• Not only did Ramirez fall just short of becoming the first Boston player to hit a grand slam in the first two games of the season, but he would have been the first to pull off the feat in his first two career starts with the club. Ramirez was a September callup for the Red Sox in 2005, but he didn't start a game for Boston until this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox:Justin Masterson officially starts his second stint with the Red Sox when he takes the ball in the finale of this three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Phillies: The Phillies hope right-hander David Buchanan can carry a strong Spring Training into the regular season. He posted a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings during the Grapefruit League season, which bumped him up to the season's No. 3 starter.