Franco heating up with grand slam

Franco heating up with grand slam

PHILADELPHIA -- Maikel Franco swung so hard he lost his helmet in the third inning Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

It has happened before, just not this season.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils make it 5 in a row with win vs. Marlins

Phils make it 5 in a row with win vs. Marlins

PHILADELPHIA -- Slowly, Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez seems to be getting there.

He allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings Wednesday night in a 7-4 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. It is the Phillies' fifth victory in a row, matching their longest winning streak since a six-game run from April 26 to May 1 of last season. They improved to 10-9 and are above .500 for the first time since winning on Opening Day.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Callup not imminent despite Alfaro's torrid run

Phillies' third-ranked prospect in final Minor League option season

Callup not imminent despite Alfaro's torrid run

PHILADELPHIA -- One of the Phillies' top prospects is off to a blazing start.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley catcher Jorge Alfaro is the Phillies' No. 3 prospect and the No. 67 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline. He entered Wednesday hitting .377 (23-for-61) with one double, two triples, three home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.003 OPS in 15 games.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Buchholz still hopes to pitch again this season

Buchholz still hopes to pitch again this season

PHILADELPHIA -- Clay Buchholz said he apologized to the Phillies following his right elbow surgery last week.

He said he still hopes to pitch this season.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellickson set to close out series vs. Marlins

Hellickson set to close out series vs. Marlins

PHILADELPHIA -- After not allowing a run in five innings on Opening Day, Edinson Volquez, who has allowed 10 runs in his last 13 2/3 innings without recording an out past the sixth, looks to reverse the trend on Thursday against the Phillies.

His .284 opponents' batting average and 1.66 WHIP are the worst of any Marlins starter this season. A lot of his struggles stem from his four-seam fastball and spiked curveball. Opposing batting averages against the pitches are .375 and .333, respectively.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nola's progress may alter pitching schedules

Nola's progress may alter pitching schedules

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Nola's back is feeling "much better," according to Phillies manager Pete Mackanin.

"Hopefully, knock on wood, he'll only miss the one start," Mackanin said.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Papale, Stassi meet with similar stories

Papale, Stassi meet with similar stories

PHILADELPHIA -- Brock Stassi hasn't seen the movie "Invincible." But he has lived it.

Now, he'll be able to watch it, too.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kelly joins Phillies after trade with Blue Jays

Kelly joins Phillies after trade with Blue Jays

PHILADELPHIA -- Ty Kelly's latest home is Philly.

He brought his many gloves to Citizens Bank Park, where he joined the Phillies on Tuesday before the game against the Marlins was postponed due to rain. The Phillies acquired Kelly on Saturday in a trade with the Blue Jays for cash considerations. He gives the Phillies another bench player, while Howie Kendrick is on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nola goes on DL; Pivetta to take spot

Nola goes on DL; Pivetta to take spot

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola thinks he could be back in the rotation as early as next week.

The Phillies placed him on the 10-day disabled list Monday with a strained lower back. Triple-A right-hander Nick Pivetta will take his spot in the rotation. He is expected to make his big league debut Sunday afternoon against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Series opener vs. Marlins rained out

Series opener vs. Marlins rained out

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies postponed Tuesday night's game against the Marlins due of rain.

They will announce the rescheduled game at a later date.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A look back at 39 years of Phillie Phanatic

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A look back at 39 years of Phillie Phanatic

April 25 isn't a particularly significant day on the Major League calendar -- a few weeks removed from Opening Day, a few months away from the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the All-Star Game and the postseason. And yet, it is one of the most important dates in baseball history: For on this day in 1978, one Phillie Phanatic -- icon, inspiration, furry green creature of questionable origin -- made his debut as mascot of the Phillies.

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Phillies have intriguing switch situation

Phillies have intriguing switch situation

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak noticed a peculiar thing this spring when going through different lineup iterations with manager Pete Mackanin.

"We'd have it up on his whiteboard, and he draws this little grid with the left- and right-handed hitters, and he's writing all of them right in the middle," Klentak said. "It's crazy."

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies Minor League review: April 17-23

Players of the Week

Player - OF Cameron Perkins, Lehigh Valley… The 26-year-old Perkins batted .375 (6-16) with a team-high four extra-base hits (2 2B, 3B, HR), three RBI and an .813 slugging percentage in his five games played. He recorded a season-high three hits on April 22, one of which was his fifth double of the year. Perkins was selected by the Phillies in the sixth round of the June 2012 draft out of Purdue University.

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Hernandez providing surprising pop for Phillies

Second baseman started big eighth-inning rally to complete sweep of Braves

Hernandez providing surprising pop for Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Cesar Hernandez finished last season playing like one of the game's elite second basemen.

He has been even better this year.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils hit 3 straight homers, sweep Braves

Phils hit 3 straight homers, sweep Braves

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are not a home run-hitting team, but they showed some serious muscle late in Sunday afternoon's 5-2 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

They hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to break a tie and sweep the Braves. Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run home run off Arodys Vizcaino to hand the Phillies a two-run lead. Aaron Altherr followed and ripped a solo homer into the Phillies' bullpen in center field, and Odubel Herrera hit a solo shot to left-center field against Ian Krol to make it a four-run game. The Phillies have won six of their last eight games to improve to 9-9.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Braves-Phillies' similarities could lead to rivalry

Rebuilding franchises on parallel track toward contending in NL East

Braves-Phillies' similarities could lead to rivalry

PHILADELPHIA -- Some baseball rivalries have historic foundations that survive the ages. Dodgers-Giants. Yankees-Red Sox. Cardinals-Cubs. Others are more temporal, based on trends that pull franchises toward each other.

That might just be happening right now with the Braves and Phillies. And just because the competition doesn't have deep roots doesn't make it any less compelling.

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Paul Hagen is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera bat flip caps back-to-back-to-back HRs

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Herrera bat flip caps back-to-back-to-back HRs

In the eighth inning of Sunday's Braves-Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, things were knotted up at 1 -- until the Phillies decided to emphatically take a stand and unbreak that tie.

Their chosen method of taking the lead was particularly dramatic, considering Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera connected on back-to-back-to-back homers against Arodys Vizcaino. 

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Eflin continues his mastery over Braves

Eflin continues his mastery over Braves

PHILADELPHIA -- Bad knees or not, Zach Eflin owns the Braves.

"It's a thrill for me to be able to look back and see how hard I worked then come out here, put up zeros, and keep the game as close as possible," Eflin said of his journey from double knee surgery this offseason to the Major League rotation in the third week of the season.

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Ben Harris is reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Alfaro's homer proves decisive for IronPigs

Alfaro's homer proves decisive for IronPigs

It seems like every time he takes the mound, Kolby Allard keeps showing why the Braves drafted him No. 14 overall two years ago.

The 19-year-old left-hander, already pitching for Double-A Mississippi, has a 1.29 ERA through his first four starts of 2017 after tossing five scoreless innings against the Montgomery Biscuits on Sunday. Allard scattered five hits, walked one and struck out five.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Franco's walk-off single in 10th lifts Phils

Franco's walk-off single in 10th lifts Phils

PHILADELPHIA -- How in the world did the Phillies win Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park?

They blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning and allowed the go-ahead run in the 10th, but they scored twice in the bottom of the 10th in improbable fashion for a 4-3 victory over the Braves.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast of the Day: Odubel off to the races

Phillies center fielder chases down line drive from Braves' Swanson

Statcast of the Day: Odubel off to the races

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera felt a little like a superhero Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

He covered 89 feet in 4.6 seconds in pursuit of a line drive in the top of the seventh inning in a 4-3 victory over the Braves in 10 innings. Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson barreled a ball to right-center field, but Herrera caught the ball in stride, just short of the chain-link fence. The catch kept the tying run on first base with two outs.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Good contact' by Franco is all that is needed

'Good contact' by Franco is all that is needed

PHILADELPHIA -- Minutes after the Phillies beat the Braves in a wild 4-3 extra-inning victory Saturday, the hero was showered and standing in front of his locker, his hair no longer saturated with the Gatorade he was doused with during his on-field postgame media appearance.

After the Braves tied the game in the ninth and took the lead in the 10th, a game the Phillies looked to have in control began slipping from their grasp. But a 10th-inning rally brought Maikel Franco to the plate with the bases loaded and a chance to notch a series win, and the Phillies' first three-game winning streak since early July.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies not expected to sign prospect Robert

Phillies not expected to sign prospect Robert

PHILADELPHIA -- Cuban outfield prospect Luis Robert, 19, is expected to sign a multi-million bonus in the coming weeks.

The Phillies are not expected to sign the top international prospect.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Struggles of Crawford not a worry for Phillies

GM Klentak says it's too early in the season to put too much stock in a slump

Struggles of Crawford not a worry for Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said Saturday he is not concerned about prospect J.P. Crawford.

Crawford is the organization's No. 1 prospect and the No. 4 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. But he entered Saturday hitting .098 (4-for-41) with one triple, two RBIs, seven walks, 13 strikeouts and a .376 OPS in 12 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils acquire utility man Kelly from Blue Jays

Phils acquire utility man Kelly from Blue Jays

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies acquired utility man Ty Kelly from the Blue Jays for cash considerations Saturday, providing depth for their shorthanded four-man bench when the Marlins come to Philadelphia next week.

Kelly will travel to Philadelphia on Sunday, and will likely dress for Tuesday's game against Miami.

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Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C.

Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellickson relying on command in hot start

Hellickson relying on command in hot start

PHILADELPHIA -- For just the third time in 16 games this season, a Phillies starting pitcher lasted seven innings. For the second time, and in his second straight start, that pitcher was Jeremy Hellickson.

The first seven innings of the Phillies' 4-3 win over the Braves belonged to Hellickson, who surrendered just three hits and two runs. It was the eighth time he has pitched seven innings while allowing two or fewer runs since joining the Phillies last season, the most on the team.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies snap streak against Colon, Braves

Phillies snap streak against Colon, Braves

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin combed through the batter-pitcher matchups hours before Friday night's game against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park and found only limited success against Bartolo Colon.

But the Phillies picked up 11 hits and four runs in seven innings against Colon in a 4-3 victory. Colon had been 10-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 14 starts against the Phillies the previous three seasons with the Mets. The Phillies had picked up more than six hits against him in just four of those 14 starts. They had never had more than 10, which happened once, in July 2014.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altherr excelling in Kendrick's absence

Altherr excelling in Kendrick's absence

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Altherr is making things interesting in the Phillies' outfield.

He went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in Friday night's 4-3 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Altherr started just one of the team's first 11 games, but since left fielder Howie Kendrick landed on the disabled list Sunday with a strained oblique, Altherr has started four of the past five games.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.