Franco righting his ship with IronPigs

Phillies' top prospect drives in three runs; falls triple shy of cycle

Maikel Franco is batting .275 with two homers over his last 13 games for Lehigh Valley. (Ken Inness/

By Robert Emrich / | May 2, 2014 12:52 AM ET

A year ago, Maikel Franco was the toast of the Minor Leagues. Now Franco is facing the true test of a prospect and finding his way back after a rough start.

The Phillies' top prospect went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs as Triple-A Lehigh Valley defeated Gwinnett, 7-5, on Thursday.

Franco broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning with a two-run single. After doubling and scoring in the fifth, he launched a solo homer in the seventh to cap the scoring for the IronPigs. He finished a triple short of the cycle.

"He had a heck of a night, that's for sure," G-Braves manager Brian Snitker told the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The 21-year-old third baseman got off to a rocky start in the International League, going 4-for-41 to start his season. Since then, he's batting .275 with two home runs and seven RBIs for the IronPigs. Overall, Franco, who also stole a base Thursday, is hitting .196 with 11 runs scored in 24 games.

A season ago, Franco was as hot a hitter as they come. The native of the Dominican Republic amassed a .320 average with 31 homers and 103 RBIs in 134 Minor League games between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, in the process earning him a MiLBY for Breakout Prospect.

Clete Thomas reached base three times and scored twice out of the leadoff spot while Koyie Hill plated a pair of runs for Lehigh Valley.

Sean O'Sullivan (1-2) earned the win after allowing four runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. Luis Garcia gave up a hit in the ninth for his fourth save.

Christian Bethancourt, the Braves' No. 2 prospect, plated a pair of runs while No. 17 Todd Cunningham went 4-for-4 with four runs scored.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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