PHILADELPHIA -- Jeff Francoeur has enjoyed a pretty nice renaissance with the Phillies this season.
Francoeur hit a game-winning, two-run home run off Marlins closer A.J. Ramos in the bottom of the ninth inning in Sunday's 8-7 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. It was the third walk-off homer of Francoeur's career, and his first since 2008. It also gave the Phillies their first series sweep since May 15-17 against Arizona.
"We probably have the best record in baseball in the second half," Francoeur said with a smile.
The homer wasted an RBI single from Ichiro Suzuki in a two-run eighth inning against Ken Giles, which handed the Marlins a short-lived one-run lead.
"A.J. walking the leadoff guy, that's tough," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "But he's done such a great job. He just centered a ball and Francoeur got it. I'm very proud of this team with the way they played today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ichiro's clutch hit: With Dee Gordon (dislocated left thumb) on the disabled list, the Marlins are looking for a top-of-the-order spark. Ichiro provided that in the series finale, collecting his first three-hit game of the season. His third hit was a crucial one, as it was a two-out RBI single to center in the eighth inning that gave Miami a 7-6 lead. The 41-year-old is now 104 hits shy of 3,000 in his MLB career.
"His bat is staying through the strike zone a long time," Jennings said. "He's swinging and driving the ball. I think he's got a six-game hit streak going right now, and three hits today. His first three-hit day as a Marlin."
Hamels hurts his trade value: The Phillies hope to trade Cole Hamels before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but he is not helping himself. He allowed eight hits and five runs in three innings, which follows a July 10 start in San Francisco, where he allowed nine runs in just 3 1/3 innings at AT&T Park. That is a 19.89 ERA in his last two starts.
"I think my track record speaks for itself," Hamels said. "But sometimes you can get yourself in a rut and you've got to get yourself out, and sometimes you get on a hot streak and you can go for months, so it's just being able to start back over and see what I can do from the first pitch." More >
Haren holds up, goes six: Neither the heat nor a 28-pitch, five-run second inning could derail Dan Haren's outing. The 34-year-old, who is the subject of trade speculation, regrouped after giving up five runs (including homers to Ryan Howard and Freddy Galvis) in the second inning. Brad Hand was warming up in the second, but Haren made it through the inning, and then made it through six, allowing his team a chance to rally and pull even at 5.
"It was the same for both teams," Haren said. "The long innings I had seemed very long. Hamels had a really long inning. His was longer than mine. It's hard to bounce back after that. Luckily, I was able to string together a few zeros there. But it was nasty -- for the umpires, catchers. It was almost dangerous." More >
Frenchy does it: Francoeur signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies in November, but he has played well since making the Opening Day roster. He had a pinch-hit, three-run homer in Friday's victory over Miami -- the first pinch-hit homer of his career -- before homering Sunday. He has emerged as a potential trade chip before the Trade Deadline.
"I've been traded at the deadline before and I haven't," Francoeur said. "You just have to go out there and play. I let them know that I really like it here, but I know it's a business, and at the same time, if it happens, it happens. I'm going to enjoy today and this weekend." More >
"It looks as if that has an effect on it, but the way I look at it, is this guy was the World Series MVP in 2008. He's pitched in two World Series. He's been an outstanding, quality starter for many years. I'd like to believe that hasn't affected him. It might have a little bit, but that's no excuse. I just think he's in a little bit of a rut." -- Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin, on the constant trade speculation affecting Hamels' performance recently
"As hard as it is to put it past us, I think guys should be proud of the way they played. We battled. I'm somewhat proud of the way I stayed in the game. After a game like that, you look at Jeff [Mathis], who caught nine innings in 3 1/2 hours or whatever ... all those pitches. It's hard to feel that bad after a game like that. It's a tough loss, for sure." -- Haren, on the Marlins' mindset
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Howard hit the 350th home run of his career when he crushed a 2-0 fastball from Haren into the second deck in right field in the second inning.
ROJAS LIFTED IN FIFTH
Marlins second baseman Miguel Rojas, who had two singles, was replaced in the fifth inning due to an upset stomach. Rojas singled in the inning, but with Mathis at the plate, he was lifted for pinch-runner Donovan Solano, who took over at second. The Marlins called it "stomach nausea" and listed Rojas as day-to-day.
The Phillies challenged a play in the ninth inning. It appeared Galvis threw out Adeiny Hechavarria at first base, but first-base umpire John Hirschbeck ruled him safe. It took 53 seconds for the replay official to overturn the call and rule Hechavarria out.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Swept by the D-backs in four games at Marlins Park in May, Miami looks for a little revenge beginning on Monday at Chase Field. David Phelps (4-5, 3.86 ERA) gets the nod for the Marlins in the 9:40 p.m. ET start. Arizona counters with Rubby De La Rosa (6-5, 5.06).
Phillies: The Phillies open a three-game Interleague series Monday night against the Rays at Citizens Bank Park at 7:05 ET. The Phillies are 7-14 against the Rays in Interleague Play, although that does not include the 2008 World Series, when the Phillies took four of five in the best-of-seven series.