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Franco has 4 hits as Phillies defeat Nationals 5-3

Maikel Franco went 4 for 4, Carlos Santana homered and the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Saturday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicked in the first inning, Aaron Nola figured he’d be fine if could find his form.

He did, and the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage.

Maikel Franco went 4 for 4, Carlos Santana homered and the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Saturday.

“The way (we’ve) been swinging lately, I just felt like if I kept putting up zeros and battling out there they were going to come through and score some more runs,” Nola said.

With the Phillies leading 3-2 in the eighth, Santana sent a drive into the Philadelphia bullpen in left-center field off Kelvin Herrera for his 13th homer of the season and second in two games. Franco later added an RBI single.

Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera, who had homered in five straight games, went 0 for 4.

The Phillies have won five of six while the Nationals have lost three of four, scoring a total of nine runs. Anthony Rendon homered for Washington.

“Look, I’ve got all the confidence in the world we’re going to start hitting,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We’ll start scoring some runs. Right now the bullpen is a little beat up. We’ve got to get them going again.”

Nola (9-2) stiffened after giving up two runs in the first inning. He didn’t allow a hit after the second and left following the sixth. He also hit an RBI single.

Seranthony Dominguez worked the ninth for his fourth save.

Erick Fedde (0-3) allowed three runs on eight hits in six-plus innings.

“They have a lot of patient hitters,” Fedde said. “I think that’s what makes it tough. Guys aren’t swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them.”

With the score 2-all, Franco doubled leading off the seventh and moved to third on a groundout. Pinch-hitter Jesmuel Valentin lifted a fly to right, Franco tagged and just beat Adam Eaton’s throw home with the safe call surviving a replay challenge.

“That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco’s day.

Daniel Murphy’s two-run single in the first inning gave Washington the early lead, but the Phillies strung together four two-out singles — the last by Nola — in the second to tie it.

BUNTER’S CHANCE

For the second consecutive game, Harper tried to beat the shift with a first-inning bunt. Friday night, he bunted foul before striking out and Saturday he was thrown out by Nola.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right lat strain) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session and will likely throw another session in a few days.

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is expected to go on a rehabilitation assignment within the next week, according to Martinez. … RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) will pitch Sunday for Class A Potomac and is expected to rejoin the rotation after the one rehab start. … RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right foreman flexor strain) will also pitch at Potomac on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08), acquired from Washington in the trade for Jonathan Papelbon, pitches the finale. He’s 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA in three starts against the Nationals.

Nationals: RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66) makes his second big league start.

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