Franco hits go-ahead homer, Kapler tossed in Phillies win
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery scrolled their phones inside the clubhouse looking for popular hot spots in Philadelphia with “Bamboo” in the name.
Brad Miller had a beer in hand when he circled the area in front of his locker and stamped the imaginary setting, “The Bamboo Bar.”
With the Phillies struggling this month, fans had reason to boo a team that had faded in the NL East race.
But could it be, perhaps a new boo is the new fad in Philly: Bamboo.
Maikel Franco hit a go-ahead two-run homer for the second straight game, and the Phillies beat the New York Mets 7-5 on Tuesday night.
Hoping to snap the Phillies out of their funk, Miller visited a store in Chinatown and bought a small bamboo plant. He put it in his locker Monday as a good-luck charm, and the Phillies snapped a seven-game losing streak.
So Miller purchased a larger bamboo plant on Tuesday and stuck it in the middle of the clubhouse, the floral centerpiece perhaps planting the seeds for a long winning streak.
“They’re gonna think I’m crazy going back tomorrow,” Miller said.
The Phillies could grow superstitious over their shrub and keep it around.
“I’m thinking about making a trip to Chinatown myself,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I’ll put some in my house.”
Whatever works, the Phillies will take it — and give it a big (green) thumbs up. Miller, Kingery and Hoskins also went deep for the Phillies, who have eight homers in the last two games.
Franco hit a shot to right off Wilmer Font (1-2) for his 18th homer, lifting the Phillies to a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning. Miller made it back-to-back shots when he went deep for a pinch-hit homer.
There was one more shot in the inning — Kingery was drilled high on the left shoulder near his face by a Font fastball. Home plate umpire Joe West immediately warned both teams, and Kapler burst out of the dugout to argue. Kapler was quickly ejected for the second time in four games.
“I felt like it was going to put us at a disadvantage, throwing up and in,” Kapler said.
Jeff McNeil’s fourth hit of the game for New York missed clearing the wall in right by inches, falling just short of a tying two-run homer in the eighth. After a review, McNeil’s double against Juan Nicasio stood and Hector Neris came in with runners on second and third. Neris got rookie slugging sensation Pete Alonso to pop out and end the threat.
Neris put two more runners on in the ninth but struck out Dominic Smith and retired Wilson Ramos on a grounder for his 16th save.
Franco’s two-run homer to center off Steven Matz put the Phillies ahead in a 13-7 win Monday, and he delivered again to bail out an ineffective Jake Arrieta (7-6). Arrieta allowed solo homers to Amed Rosario and Smith to help the Mets take a 5-2 lead into the sixth.
Arrieta gave up nine hits and five runs in six innings. He has allowed at least five runs in three of his last five starts.
“We were able to put it behind us in a positive way with the win,” Arrieta said.
The Mets scored twice in the first but Kingery got one back off Walker Lockett with his first career leadoff homer. Hoskins’ 18th homer of the season in the fourth made it 4-2 and the Phillies rallied when the Mets bullpen faltered late again.
“We still feel like we can turn this around,” Smith said. “You can’t be disappointed, can’t hang your head. It’s a long year.”
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard struck out nine in a rehab start for Class A Brooklyn. He has been out with a strained right hamstring.
Phillies: RHP Tommy Hunter (elbow) pitched two scoreless innings Tuesday with Double-A Reading and will continue to make rehab appearances.
Mets second baseman Robinson Cano had an RBI single in the first as he tries to hit his way out of a season-long slump. Manager Mickey Callaway said 80 games was too soon to judge Cano’s season but it was time for the former Yankees star to find his groove at the plate.
“I think at some point, we have to get him going,” Callaway said. “I think he’s been swinging the bat better than his results. He’s hit some hard line outs, some hard ground balls that haven’t found the holes.”
Cano said he’s just a victim of “no luck.”
“When you see the ball good and hit the ball good, there’s nothing else you can do,” Cano said.
The Mets hope LHP Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.75 ERA) won’t be an unfortunate distraction when he takes the mound against Phillies RHP Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.54 ERA) on Wednesday.
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