Franco plates seven on career night

Phillies infield prospect smacks homer off Tiki Bar rooftop

Maikel Franco is second in the Florida State League with 22 RBIs. (Ken Inness/

By Danny Wild / | April 26, 2013 6:47 PM ET

Maikel Franco did something Friday that only Miguel Cabrera had accomplished.

Out beyond the left field wall at Bright House Field sits the Frenchy's Tiki Pavilion. Beyond that is the smaller, less visible but nevertheless popular Tiki Bar. That little straw-roofed getaway is where Franco hit his second homer of the night.

"I feel good, I'm swinging well," said Franco, the Phillies' No. 11 prospect. "I felt great today."

Franco drove in a career-high seven runs to power the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers past the visiting Tampa Yankees, 9-4. Philadelphia's third-ranked third base prospect hit a two-run double in the fifth, drilled a three-run homer in the sixth and launched a long two-run shot in the eighth.

That second longball was reminiscent of one the reigning American League MVP hit off a high fastball from Jonathan Papelbon in a Grapefruit League game earlier this spring.

"I got a fastball away first pitch and I just stayed through the ball," Franco explained.

His first homer of the night, off reliever Dan Mahoney, was his first since April 11.

"He threw me a slider. I'm just hitting behind the ball," Franco said. "He threw me a changeup, just reacted and hit it."

Franco topped his previous career high of five RBIs, which he managed twice last season for Class A Lakewood, most recently on July 11 against Hickory. He's coming off a solid season in which he batted .280 with 14 homers, 84 RBIs and a .336 on-base percentage.

"I'm feeling comfortable, just trying my best," said Franco, who ranks second in the Florida State League with 22 RBIs, one behind Twins top prospect Miguel Sano of Fort Myers.

Franco was part of Clearwater's record-tying 27-hit assault on April 16 when he went 4-for-5 with an RBI. He's batting .308 against left-handed pitchers, .299 against righties and .375 with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Clearwater built a 7-1 lead by the sixth, thanks mostly to Franco. Chris Serritella sandwiched a sacrifice fly between Franco's double and three-run homer. Aaron Altherr also went yard for the Threshers, while Hoby Milner (2-2) held the Yankees to a run on three hits over five innings.

Tampa starter Bryan Mitchell (1-2) was charged with four runs on six hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four.

Danny Wild is an editor for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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