Franco powers Phils to series win vs. Rockies

Franco powers Phils to series win vs. Rockies

PHILADELPHIA -- Tyler Anderson wasn't long for this one.

In the Phillies' 6-3 win Saturday night, the Rockies' rookie left-hander hit Maikel Franco the at-bat after the third baseman gave Philadelphia an early lead with a three-run homer and subsequent exuberant trot. Tempers flared. Benches cleared. Bullpens emptied. No punches were thrown, but Anderson and Rockies manager Walt Weiss were ejected. After Franco came around to score, the Rockies had more fireworks to contribute by way of the long ball.

Franco didn't believe Anderson plunked him on purpose. But given the situation, he wasn't surprised to see the benches clear and his team come to his defense, either.

"I know the team had to protect me," Franco said. "They had to respond, too. … I didn't expect the ball to be coming because I didn't do anything wrong, just run my bases. This moment, you just have to get mad a little bit."

• Anderson, Weiss ejected after Franco HBP

Benches clear in Philly

Anderson and Weiss each said they thought home-plate umpire Eric Cooper's decision was quick, but they also saw Cooper's side.

"Obviously, I put that guy [Cooper] in a tough situation, because he hit a home run the at-bat before, but I was not going to intentionally hit the guy in the shin," Anderson said. "A little quick, but I put him in a bad spot, too."

Weiss gets ejected

Down four runs in the sixth, Colorado knocked Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff out after 5 2/3 innings with a pair of dingers. Daniel Descalso mashed a two-run blast, while Tony Wolters added a solo shot -- the third straight plate appearance he reached safely in to start the game.

The win gives the Phillies three straight victories for the first time since early July -- a streak the Rockies snapped during the teams' series in Colorado. A sweep Sunday would be their first since taking three from the Braves during that streak. The Rockies are trending in an opposite direction, dropping their eighth game of their last 10 to fall five below .500 for the first time since July 23.

"It's really good to win a series against this lineup," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "This whole lineup is a good lineup. All you have to do is look at their batting averages. We're doing a heck of a job beating these guys the first two games."

Franco discusses the win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Franco's fired up: Franco took his time rounding the bases after putting a three-spot on the scoreboard in the first inning with his 21st blast of the season. The next pitch Franco saw from Anderson in the fourth was a fastball to the knee. Franco stared down Anderson, who had words for him and home-plate umpire Eric Cooper, and took first after the benches and bullpens cleared. A Carlos Ruiz walk pushed Franco to second, where he hustled home on Freddy Galvis' single to give the Phillies their fourth six run of the evening. The Phillies' third baseman had a hand (and knee) in all four.

Eickhoff gets out of trouble

Couldn't flip the switch: The Rockies had plenty of chances at the plate on Saturday night. Nolan Arenado -- 1-for-14 with two sacrifice flies and three walks during the team's 1-2 road trip -- grounded into a double play with two on and one out in the first.

The Rockies loaded the bases with two out in the fifth, but Carlos Gonzalez, making his first start since Monday because of an ankle injury and who had singled in the first to increase his hit streak to 19 games, popped out to first base. Then in the sixth, after the Rockies had scored three runs, DJ LeMahieu, who had two hits earlier, grounded to short.

Finally, David Dahl, who had doubled twice in the game, struck out looking against Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez with runners at second and third to end the game. The Rockies finished with 13 hits but went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"We scattered our hits, and we didn't get the big one to put up a big inning," Weiss said. "We had some opportunities."

Eickhoff, Ruiz turn double play

Views from the sixth: The sixth inning has not treated Eickhoff well. The three runs Colorado plated off him in the inning upped his sixth-inning ERA this season to an astronomical 12.71. Eickhoff's struggles the third time through the order have plagued him all season, often turning a potential gem into a mess heading into the seventh. Thanks to some uncharacteristic run support, Eickhoff's scheduled sixth-inning implosion cost him only ERA points, not a win.

"Eickhoff, the sixth inning again, I don't know what it is," Mackanin said. "He just lost his command in that sixth inning. He's been doing that, so we've got to go to work on that and see what the problem is."

Eickhoff isn't so sure either. Despite the gaudy numbers, he doesn't believe it's any sort of a trend. He attributed his struggles in the sixth his last start to an inability to locate, while Saturday, he believed he lost the touch on his curveball.

"It just comes down to getting that curveball over," Eickhoff said. "I got it over the first inning maybe, but if the hitters can eliminate that, especially being lefties, you know, it's a big weapon for me. If I'm not throwing that with consistency, they can just put that in the back of their mind, or eliminate it, really." More >

Rusin's 6th-inning triple

Rusin steps in and steps up: Losing Anderson meant the Rockies' starter in the last three games threw five, 4 1/3 and three innings. Anderson's short outing on Saturday meant lefty Chris Rusin needed to give the Rockies a chance at a win. Rusin gave up Galvis' RBI single to allow his inherited runner to score, but he gave up no other hits in three scoreless innings that saw him pitch around three walks. Additionally, Rusin tripled with two out in the sixth. He left with a one-run deficit, but righty reliever Carlos Estevez gave up two runs in the seventh.

"It's a tough load after that [ejection]. Your bullpen's going to get taxed," Weiss said. "Rusin did a great job giving us the length that he did. It certainly puts you in a tough spot, and it can for the next day or two." More >

WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: Tyler Chatwood (10-7, 3.58 ERA), who will start Sunday's series finale against the Phillies at 11:35 a.m. MT, is 2-3 with a 4.54 ERA in seven starts since returning from a back injury. But on the road, he is 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA this season.

Phillies: Adam Morgan (1-7, 6.65 ERA) gets the nod to fill the injured Zach Eflin's spot in the rotation in the series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. The last time Morgan was on a Major League mound, it was July 7 in Colorado, allowing six runs over five innings to the Rockies.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.