By the time Maikel Franco left Miller Park tonight, he'd tied Ryan Howard for the team lead in home runs. Here's hoping Franco's success at the plate means the rest of his teammates will leave this series with their knuckles reddened and sore from the might of his fist pounds.
On an evening when Aaron Nola threw another slick seven-inning start, Franco went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI, and a bat-splintering single. The Phillies managed seven other hits, with Darin Ruf and Freddy Galvis knocking in a run each, and really set the evening apart from the young season's other nights.
After going 15 consecutive games without a double-digit hit game, Phillies record back-to-back games with 10 hits.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) April 23, 2016
Hot damn, what a crew of ball-scalders these fellows are! Franco had sunken into a 3-for-30 hole with nine strikeouts before tonight, making his two-run bomb in the fifth to give the Phillies a two-run lead and solo shot in the seventh to simply antagonize people all the more exciting.
As stated, Ruf contributed as well, tying the game 1-1 with an RBI single in the fourth, but his doubtful play in left field - where he will be playing this entire series, it turns out - was on display when he skipped a throw to third base from close range after being tested by Scooter Gennett. You got the impression Gennett knew exactly what he was doing. A moment later, he came in to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
Then there was Nola, who gave Phillies fans a guy to be proud of and Brewers fans a guy to be jealous of - a nice change of pace.
Aaron Nola has pitched seven innings three times this season. The Brewers have one start of seven-plus innings; Jimmy Nelson in Game 2.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 23, 2016
Nola pounded around a tough first inning, but set down 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. By the time he took off, he'd allowed only two walks, four hits and one earned run, while striking out seven.
The bullpen buckled but didn't implode, giving the game a thrilling conclusion. Hector Neris looked sharp in the eighth, striking out two, but Jeanmar Gomez gave Milwaukee a pair of doubles to start the ninth. Did the Brewers have a miracle comeback in them?
No. Gomez watched as Freddy Galvis snared a Ramon Flores line drive, almost without looking, and barked some encouragement. Whatever Galvis shouted from shortstop, it registered, and Gomez induced a pair of ground balls to bring an end to things.
Is this the Phillies' offense coming out party? Let's just put our hands together that nobody got out on a foul bunt tonight. Though Cesar Hernandez did get thrown out stealing again, giving him four CS on the year, the most in the sport. Later, 240-pound Cameron Rupp successfully stole a base, after having not done so since playing in the minors in 2013.
What I'm saying is, who knows what'll happen next!
The answer is: Probably Cesar Hernandez getting thrown out somewhere.