Francisco, Ibanez Go Deep As Phillies Top Rangers 3-2
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Roy Halladay was backed by another light night at the plate from the Phillies.
Well, except for two big swings.
Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez homered, and Halladay threw eight strong innings to lead Philadelphia to a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
Halladay (6-3) struck out seven and walked one for the NL East-leading Phillies.
Francisco hit a two-run shot in the second inning and Ibanez hit a solo homer in the fourth to give Halladay the support he needed to end a personal two-game losing streak. Halladay lost consecutive complete games because the Phillies failed to score more than two runs in either start.
“I don’t think you can think about it,” Halladay said. “I think if you go out there trying to win the game yourself or do too much or feel like you can’t make mistakes, it compounds the problem.”
C.J. Wilson (4-3) had an otherwise strong outing for Texas, striking out 10 in seven innings.
Ryan Madson, who took a liner off his pitching hand, worked the ninth for his eighth save. David Murphy was caught stealing at second to end the game.
Three runs could almost be considered a slugfest the way the Phillies have been slumping at the plate. They lost five of six coming into the game and hadn’t scored more than three runs in any of them. The lone game they won over that stretch was a 2-1 win against Colorado. The Rockies responded by pounding the Phillies 7-1 on Thursday.
Halladay at least keeps them in the game, even when the bats go cold. He did it again, never letting the Rangers get a serious rally going after they scratched for a run in the first.
“It’s been a tough stretch, I think we’re all aware of that,” Halladay said.
One unlikely candidate sparked the Phillies.
Francisco made it 2-1 with his first homer since April 16. Francisco was in a horrible 3-for-36 slump with one RBI in his last 15 games.
“It’s baseball. You’re going to go through slumps,” Francisco said. “I feel good now. I feel I’ve worked on my swing a lot lately. Just keep hitting.”
He started in right field and John Mayberry Jr., was in center – needed changes after the Phillies placed center fielder Shane Victorino on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
The Phillies recalled outfielder – and top prospect – Domonic Brown from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 23-year-old started the season on the DL after breaking his right hand early in spring training.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel expects to start Brown in Saturday’s game against Colby Lewis.
Brown’s addition doesn’t bother Francisco.
“It’s on me to go out there and play well,” he said.
Ibanez homered to center to continue the hot streak he’s been on since his 0-for-35 drought. He’s hitting .375 (21 for 56) since the longest hitless skid of his career.
His slump has been transferred to Ryan Howard. The slugging first baseman went 0 for 3 and is mired in an 0-for-23 funk. Howard is still a threat, though. The Rangers intentionally walked him with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth. Mayberry grounded out to end the rally.
The Rangers scored first when shortstop Elvis Andrus stole home on a delayed double steal in the first.
Andrus hit a leadoff single and advanced to third on Mitch Moreland’s single. Moreland stole second and Andrus bolted for home on catcher Carlos Ruiz’s throw.
“Any time you’re in a game against a guy like him, you have to go for it,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We had Elvis at third, went for it and made it.”
Endy Chavez led off the eighth with a pinch-hit double and scored on Moreland’s groundout to make it 3-2.
Wilson fanned seven batters over the first three innings – four straight over the first and second. He allowed both homers with two outs in the inning.
Notes: Washington said reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton (broken arm) is “a possibility” to play Monday. … The Phillies optioned RHP Scott Mathieson to Triple-A and recalled RHP David Herndon. … Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., said Thursday that Brown was not expected to get called up. Amaro changed his mind after a talk with Manuel. “There’s still a question on whether he’s ready to play on a regular basis here, but circumstances changed and I changed my mind,” Amaro said. … Phillies RHP Joe Blanton, scratched minutes before Thursday’s start because of inflammation in his elbow, had an MRI. Amaro said he didn’t have the results.
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