- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - After a tumultuous month, Jeff Francoeur and the Philadelphia Phillies responded from a much-needed break with a rare victory.

Francoeur hit a pinch-hit three-run home run in Philadelphia’s four-run eighth inning, leading the Phillies to a 6-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night in a matchup of two of the worst teams in baseball.

Ryan Howard had an RBI for the Phillies, who snapped a five-game losing streak while winning for just the eighth time in their last 34 games. Philadelphia set a franchise record with 62 losses before the All-Star break.

The last month was particularly trying for the Phillies, as manager Ryne Sandberg resigned and Andy MacPhail was hired to take over as the club’s president following the season.

“The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time,” Francoeur said. “My tank was on ‘E’ and all of us needed to get away from each other. You could tell everybody came back today and was quite excited to see each other, which was good.

“The game’s a grind and especially what we’ve been through the last month. You’re professional and have to show up, but it can be tough. Hopefully, the second half we can stabilize more and have more outcomes like tonight.”

J.T. Realmuto homered and Justin Bour had two hits for the Marlins, whose 38-51 mark entering the game was only better than Milwaukee and the Phillies.

The Phillies got some help from Miami in the pivotal eighth inning.

Cole Gillespie dropped Maikel Franco’s line drive to center field, and Odubel Herrera scored to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Herrera had led off the inning with a pinch-hit single off Bryan Morris (3-2) and went to second on Ben Revere’s sacrifice bunt. Morris was lifted after walking Cesar Hernandez, and Carter Capps got Franco to line to center. It should have been the second out, but the ball deflected off Gillespie’s glove as he reached for it.

“It looked like the ball was knuckling a little,” Miami manager Dan Jennings said. “He’s a tremendous outfielder. It was just one of those things.”

Francoeur then broke the game open with his first career pinch-hit homer off Mike Dunn.

“He’s been a special guy for us,” Philadelphia interim manager Pete Mackanin said. “Great energy. Loves playing baseball and I think it rubs off on the rest of the guys. I’m happy to see it.”

Ken Giles (4-2) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to earn the victory.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon, the lone Phillies All-Star, gave up Realmuto’s homer while pitching in a non-save situation in the ninth. Papelbon drew boos from the crowd upon his entrance, and louder boos after the homer and subsequent single to Ichiro Suzuki. He made comments during the All-Star break criticizing Phillies management for failing to trade him, saying they should “you know what or get off the pot.”

Mackanin said he could understand the fans’ reaction.

“Without a doubt,” Mackanin said. “He says a few things he shouldn’t say and it comes across poorly sometimes.”

Miami ace Jose Fernandez was strong in his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander, who won his first two starts, gave up two runs and four hits in six innings with six strikeouts and one walk. Fernandez’s ERA rose slightly, from 2.08 to 2.37.

“I just tried to give my team a chance to win every time out, and I’m glad I’m healthy again,” he said.

Adam Morgan, making his fourth career start, rebounded from his worst outing by allowing two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. Morgan walked three and struck out three.

Morgan helped his cause with the bat, starting the Phillies’ two-run sixth inning with an opposite-field double.

“I just ran into it,” Morgan said. “I wasn’t trying to do anything crazy up there.”

It was the first career hit for the pitcher, who had been 0 for 8 before the at-bat. After Revere’s bunt single advanced Morgan to third, he scored when Franco grounded into a double play.

Howard gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead with an RBI single that scored Revere.

Miami tied it in the seventh on Gillespie’s RBI double off Luis Garcia.

The Marlins took the lead in the fourth on Bour’s RBI single to center that opened the scoring.


Marlins: The Marlins placed All-Star 2B Dee Gordon (dislocated left thumb) on the 15-day DL. Gordon was hurt sliding headfirst last Saturday. The Marlins activated Martin Prado (right shoulder) from the DL. Prado batted second and played second base, going 0 for 4.


Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (7-5, 3.40 ERA) opposes Phillies RHP Chad Billingsley (1-3, 6.75) in the second game of the three-game series on Saturday night. Billingsley is 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA in eight games (seven starts) against the Marlins. Koehler has a 5.40 ERA in one start against Philadelphia.

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