Franco hits 7th spring homer, Phillies outlast Pirates 15-12

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maikel Franco hit his spring training-leading seventh homer to cap a nine-run fourth inning as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 15-12 Friday.

Franco's three-run shot was one of four homers for the Phillies. Ryan Howard hit a grand slam and Peter Bourjos and Cameron Rupp also homered during a six-run fifth.

Howard, who drove in five runs, and Rupp each had three hits.

"The sky's the limit for Maikel," Howard said. "His ball gets small really quick, and when he hit that home run today, I was standing and watching. It went straight up and just kind of disappeared."

Matt Joyce and Pedro Florimon homered early for the Pirates, staking them to a 5-0 lead going into the fourth. Pittsburgh prospect Jose Osuna hit a three-run homer in the ninth.


Pirates: LHP Kyle Lobstein was a late substitute for RHP Gerrit Cole, who instead started in a minor league game at Pittsburgh's camp. Cole gave up two hits and a run in three innings against New York Yankees minor leaguers. Lobstein, who is competing for the final spot in the Pirates bullpen, pitched three scoreless innings.

Phillies: RHP Charlie Morton, the ex-Pirates pitcher facing his former team for the first time, gave up four hits and five runs in four innings.

"It was a little strange," Morton said of facing his old friends. He still lives in Bradenton, near the Pirates' spring-training home.


Pirates: 3B Jung Ho Kang (knee) faced live pitching for the first time since major knee surgery in September. He went 1 for 4 in a minor league game. ... OF Antoan Richardson (foot) made his spring debut, going 1 for 3 with a triple and driving in two runs. He signed a minor league deal in December.

Phillies: RHP David Hernandez (triceps tendinitis) pitched a perfect inning in a minor league game. He will progress to pitching in a Grapefruit League game next week, his first official start since March 1.


Pirates: The club sent down 10 prospects. Optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis were RHP John Holdzkom, RHP Nick Kingham, SS Gift Ngoepe, 2B Alen Hanson, 1B Josh Bell, INF Max Moroff and OF Willy Garcia. Reassigned to minor league camp were INFs Dan Gamache, Adam Frazier and Juan Diaz.

Phillies: RHP Jimmy Cordero and C Jorge Alfaro were optioned to Double-A Reading and C Andrew Knapp was reassigned to minor league camp.


Pirates: LHP Jon Niese gets his third Grapefruit League start as the Minnesota Twins visit McKechnie Field. The first-year Pirates pitcher has given up eight runs in five innings.

Phillies: RHP Jeremy Hellickson will start Saturday in a road game against the Toronto Blue Jays. In two innings so far this spring, he's allowed two hits and a run, striking out five.