Francoeur sparks offense, lapses on defense

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

Francoeur sparks offense, lapses on defense

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.

Francoeur's RBI single

"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.

Francoeur's extra-short throw

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 MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.