Franco shows offensive upside vs. D-backs

Franco shows offensive upside vs. D-backs

PHOENIX - There are games when Phillies' third baseman Maikel Franco shows off his potential. There are others when he shows his age.

On Tuesday, the 23-year-old did both, picking up a pair of hits -- including a crucial home run -- and striking out twice in his team's 4-3 victory against the D-backs to clinch the series win.

Franco, who is hitting .246 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs, finished 2-for-5.

"I'm just trying to get better every day and help my team," Franco said in Spanish. "I'm working on controlling my excitement at home plate and I feel like I'm getting better in that area."

It was quite a night for the young infielder. He flied out to center on the first pitch he saw from D-backs starter Zack Greinke in the first inning and later hit a double on the second pitch from reliever Randall Delgado in the third. He also hit a solo home run on the fifth pitch against Delgado in the fifth inning to put the Phillies ahead, 2-1.

"He's got a lot of natural ability, obviously," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's an aggressive hitter and I love aggressive hitters, but he's a little bit overly aggressive. I think he needs to be a smarter hitter. I'd rather take an aggressive hitter and throttle him back than a guy who is not aggressive and try to get him to be aggressive. That's a great situation to be in."

Franco, who leads the team in home runs, RBIs and extra-base hits, struck out swinging on four pitches for the final out of the top of the seventh inning. He worked the count full before striking out with the bases loaded and the game tied at 3 on a ball way outside of the strike zone in the ninth.

"He's got a chance to be a real good hitter and hit for power," Mackanin said. "He's got a lot to learn but it's only his first full year in the big leagues. He's going through a learning period."

Franco, who made his big league debut in 2014, hit .280 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs in 2015. He posted a .497 slugging-percentage and an .840 OPS last season.

"I feel like I had good game because we won," Franco said. "I helped my team win and winning is the most important thing." 

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.