Franco's slam spoils Rollins' grand Philly return

Franco's slam spoils Rollins' grand Philly return

PHILADELPHIA -- Maikel Franco continues to give Phillies fans hope for the future.

On a night the Phillies celebrated the return of franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins, Franco hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the seventh inning of a 6-2 victory over the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Franco is the first Phillies rookie to hit a grand slam since Ryan Howard, who hit one in Atlanta on Sept. 21, 2005. The Phillies are 13-3 since the All-Star break, which is the best record in baseball.

"I talked to Jimmy before the game," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "I said, 'Jimmy, I don't care if you get eight hits, just as long as we win all three games.' He meant a lot to us."

Left-hander Alex Wood allowed four runs over 6 1/3 innings in his Dodgers debut. Following an unorthodox balk, he exited with the bases loaded in the seventh and Joel Peralta served up a 1-1 curveball to Franco for the decisive hit.

"I'm sure he didn't want the breaking ball there," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He wanted it down and get them to try to roll it."

Franco on his grand slam in win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Squandering chances: The Dodgers had runners on second and third with no outs in the third inning and the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth inning without scoring in either inning off Phillies starter Jerome Williams.

"We didn't tack on runs when we had chances and you just hope that doesn't come back to get you," said Mattingly. "We didn't put pressure on them, we left them in the game and that's what can happen."

Franco turns two to end jam

Franco goes deep: The Phillies had wasted scoring opportunities throughout the night, but Franco finally delivered a big hit in the seventh. Franco is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs in his last nine games.

"That was amazing for me," Franco said. "My energy was high at that time. My first big league grand slam." More >

Franco's grand slam

Rollins returns: Former Phillies MVP Rollins returned to Citizens Bank Park as an opponent for the first time. He was cheered when he took the field for warmups; stepped out of the batter's box twice to acknowledge a standing ovation in his first at-bat; single and doubled, but struck out with two on the end the eighth and committed an error.

"It was a great moment," Rollins said of the first-inning ovation. "It went on a little longer than I expected." More >

Rollins returns to Philadelphia

Balk or wild pitch? The Phillies had runners on first and second with one out in the seventh when a ball slipped out of Wood's hand on a 3-2 pitch to Odubel Herrera. It came to a stop between the pitcher's mound and first base. With no Dodgers making a move for the ball, Carlos Ruiz ran on the play and scored from second base. But umpires ruled it a balk. They made the right call: "Rule 8.01(d): A ball which slips out of a pitcher's hand and crosses the foul line shall be called a ball; otherwise it will be called no pitch. This would be a balk with men on base."

"That was different," said Mattingly. More >

Odd play leads to grand slam

QUOTABLE
"In a way, I was almost happy to see [Franco] face a right-hander because he's not hitting that well against left-handers. It worked out well."
-- Mackanin, on the seventh-inning pitching change that set up Franco's grand slam

Mackanin on Franco and 6-2 win

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Franco is hitting .282 with a .339 on-base percentage and a .491 slugging percentage. Since 1930, the only Phillies rookie with a better slash line was Dick Allen (.318/.382/.557) in 1964.

UTLEY UPDATE
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley went 1-for-4 with two runs scored Tuesday in a rehab game with Double-A Reading. He will play again Wednesday, and it would not be a surprise to see him activated before the end of the week. Utley has been on the DL since June 23 with a sprained right ankle. More >

WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Brett Anderson seeks to avenge a 7-2 loss to the Phillies on July 7 in Los Angeles when he takes the hill on Wednesday at 4:05 p.m. PT . Although he has a 3.14 ERA (2.97 on the road), he's just 5-6 in 20 starts this season.

Phillies: Right-hander Aaron Harang (5-11, 3.97 ERA) makes his second start since returning from the disabled list with left foot plantar fasciitis. He allowed one run in five innings July 30, and a strong August could facilitate a trade before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline.

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