PHILADELPHIA (SportsDirect Inc.) — Maikel Franco has been saddled with an all-or-nothing tag this season, with the 24-year-old Dominican recording multi-hit performances in three of his last five outings on the heels of a dismal 0-for-21 stretch.
After belting his second grand slam in two weeks, Franco will try his hand at providing a consistent presence at the plate as his Philadelphia Phillies vie for a sixth straight win Thursday afternoon against the visiting Miami Marlins.
Freddy Galvis and Michael Saunders also went deep as Philadelphia benefited from three homers for the second straight game in its 7-4 triumph on Wednesday.
The red-hot Phillies have won seven of nine to move into a second-place tie with the Marlins, who are 3-4 on a road trip that ends on Thursday.
Martin Prado belted his second homer in three outings and scored a run for the fourth straight contest, but is just 5-for-23 in his career versus Thursday starter Jeremy Hellickson.
Right-hander Edinson Volquez will provide the opposition and attempt to reel in Galvis, who is batting .571 with a homer against him.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), CSN Philadelphia
PITCHING MATCHUP: Marlins RH Edinson Volquez (0-2, 4.82 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Jeremy Hellickson (3-0, 1.88)
Volquez yielded four walks for the second straight outing and permitted four runs on five hits in three innings of a 10-5 setback at Seattle on April 19. The 33-year-old Dominican has struggled to put his best foot forward since being tabbed as the team’s Opening Day starter, venturing past five innings in just one outing this season. Volquez has pitched well against the Phillies, posting a 4-1 mark overall and a 2-0 record with a 1.89 ERA at Citizens Bank Park.
Hellickson continued his strong start to the season by allowing two runs in seven innings for the second straight outing on Friday. The 30-year-old scattered just three hits and struck out five without issuing a walk in a 4-3 triumph over Atlanta. Hellickson has fared well against Miami, highlighting a 3-1 mark versus the club in 2016 with a three-hit shutout on Sept. 17.
1. Miami SS Adeiny Hechavarria recorded three hits in Wednesday’s contest, matching the sum total of his previous five games.
2. Philadelphia OF Aaron Altherr is making the most of consistent playing time in place of injured Howie Kendrick, collecting both a hit and a run in eight straight contests.
3. Marlins OF Marcell Ozuna went hitless in the de facto series opener and is 3-for-29 with 12 strikeouts in his last seven games.
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