Franco takes advice, breaks out of slump

Slugger tries to pull the ball more, enjoys second multihomer game of career

Franco takes advice, breaks out of slump

MILWAUKEE -- Maybe this is the jumpstart Maikel Franco and the Phillies needed.

Franco hit a pair of home runs Friday night in a 5-2 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park. He hit a two-run home run to left field in the fifth -- as the Phillies scored a season-high three runs in the inning -- and a solo home run to left-center field in the seventh inning.

Both balls left Franco's bat at 105 mph, according to Statcast™. The homer in the seventh traveled a projected 426 feet, making it the longest Phillies home run this season.

"This year, yeah," Franco said, asked if it was one of the longest homers he had hit in a while.

Franco was right about that. He hit three homers farther last season.

"It was a good pitch to hit," Franco said of a 1-1 slider from Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano. "When they make a mistake, I have to put good contact on it."

It had been a while since Franco had crushed a baseball, much less two in the same night. He stepped into the batter's box in the fifth inning in a 4-for-32 slump. He had no extra-base hits, no RBIs, one walk and 10 strikeouts since a third-inning double against the Padres on April 13.

"I've been in a tough slump," Franco said. "I know it's going to happen. Every single day you're not going to feel good. When you're in a tough moment like that, you have to stay positive and continue to work hard."

Franco's second home run

Franco launched Zach Davies' 1-0 curveball over the left-field fence in the fifth inning to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead. The solo homer in the seventh gave the Phillies a 5-1 lead. It also gave Franco the second multihomer game of his career.

The Phillies spoke to Franco before the game about trying to pull the ball more. Franco likes to work the ball to the opposite field in batting practice, but once the game begins, he sometimes expands the strike zone too much as he tries to send the ball to right field.

"When you stay back and try to pull the ball, you don't swing at the bad breaking balls," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Franco listened, and it worked. Maybe this is beginning of something good. The Phillies' offense could use it.

"When you try to hit the ball the other way and you miss your pitch, middle, middle in, sometimes you're thinking too much," he said. "Today I just went out there and tried to see a good pitch to hit and tried to put good contact on it."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. 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.