Franco’s 3-run homer lifts Phils over Marlins 5-2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Maikel Franco launched a towering drive, watched the ball clear the left-field wall and flipped his bat high in the air backward before his jubilant trot around the bases.

Franco’s three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Phillies to a 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Thursday night and kept Philadelphia a half-game ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.

”We never give up. We keep fighting, man,” Franco said after the team’s four-run rally in the ninth.

Kyle Barraclough (0-5) walked Rhys Hoskins to start the inning and Scott Kingery ran for him. Carlos Santana reached on an infield single with one out and Asdrubal Cabrera walked to load the bases. Barraclough’s first pitch to Nick Williams was behind him and kicked hard off the backstop. The Phillies challenged but a video review confirmed the ball did not hit Williams. However, he drove in the tying run on a groundout.

Franco followed with his 18th homer. After his bat flip, he jogged without a helmet and was swarmed by teammates at the plate.

”I got too excited,” Franco said. ”I know I was all over the place. I kept saying `Get out. Get out. Get out’ and finally it did.”

Franco has been having a turnaround season.

He was benched two months ago for Kingery and then J.P. Crawford, but has been one of the team’s best hitters since returning to the lineup.

”I just waited for my moment,” Franco said. ”I do whatever I can and take nothing for granted.”

The Braves beat the Mets 4-2 and the Phillies were aware of the scoreboard.

”Anybody who says they’re not watching is not being genuine,” manager Gabe Kapler said. ”As a group, we are a fighting unit. We’re tenacious. We grind. We just don’t give up.”

Tommy Hunter (3-1) earned the win with a scoreless inning in relief. Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta gave up two runs and four hits, striking out seven in six innings.

After J.T. Realmuto lined a single with one out in the fourth, Justin Bour drove his 17th homer deep into the seats in right-center to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead.

Hoskins connected in the sixth for the Phillies, sending a drive way out to left. He has hit eight of his 22 homers in 13 games since appearing in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game.

Marlins starter Pablo Lopez allowed one run and five hits, striking out five in his sixth career start.

Cabrera was 0 for 3 with a walk in his first home game since coming over from the New York Mets in a trade last week.

”Games like this hurt,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

STREAK BROKEN

The Phillies had been 0-38 when trailing after eight innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: Right-hander Sandy Alcantara’s rehab start at Single-A Jupiter was rained out. He’s scheduled to pitch Friday. Alcantara (right armpit infection) has been sidelined since earning his first major league win on June 29.

Phillies: All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos, acquired from Tampa Bay on Tuesday, said he’s ”100 percent sure” he’ll return to action this month. Ramos has been on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

UP NEXT

RHP Vince Velasquez (7-8, 4.02 ERA) goes for the Phillies and RHP Trevor Richards (3-5, 4.06) starts for the Marlins on Friday night. Velasquez is 3-1, 2.63 in seven career starts vs. Miami. Richards is 1-0, 2.70 in two starts vs. Philadelphia.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball