By The Sports Xchange
ATLANTA — Jeff Francoeur is making the most of the second time with his hometown Atlanta Braves.
Francoeur, once a rookie sensation with Atlanta, hit a two-run homer to the opposite field in the seventh inning and the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Sunday.
“He’s still such a strong man,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “When he gets the barrel on it, it will go.”
It was Francoeur’s first homer at Turner Field as a Brave since 2009 and his first at the 20-year-old ballpark overall since 2010, when he was with the New York Mets.
“You enjoy these moments,” Francoeur said. “When I was 22 or 23, it was like, ‘Oh, I’ll do it again tomorrow.'”
Francoeur’s homer off Andrew Bailey (3-1) was his seventh of the season and came on an 0-2 fastball that ended up in the right-field seats.
Francoeur, 32, played with the Phillies last season and has been with seven teams over 12 seasons. He signed a minor-league deal with the Braves in late February and had to make the team in spring training.
“It was a good opportunity to get in there today and contribute,” Francoeur said. “I think that’s what they signed me to do. When you get a spot start like today, provide a big hit or some pop. It was nice to be able to do that today.”
Francoeur’s homer followed a one-out single by Nick Markakis, and veteran reliever Bailey didn’t think it was that bad of a pitch.
“Yeah, it surprised me, but that’s kind of the way things are going for me,” he said. “Clearly I’m struggling.”
Jimmy Paredes homered in the eighth inning to draw the Phillies within a run, but Jim Johnson induced a double play after a leadoff walk in the ninth inning while recording his sixth save.
A 24-minute rain delay in the middle of the sixth inning cost the Phillies the further use of starter Jerad Eickhoff, who had held the Braves completely in check.
Eickhoff allowed just two singles while throwing 34 of his 51 pitches for strikes in the abbreviated five-inning outing. He retired the first nine batters and faced just one more above the minimum thanks to a double play.
“We thought about (keeping him in), but I thought it was more important to get him out of there and not taking any chances when you sit for a half hour,” Phillies manager Pete MacKanin said.
“The rest of the pitchers have a job to do. They’ve got to do their jobs, simple as that. They’re getting paid.”
Paredes’ homer also came on an 0-2 pitch, with Chris Withrow the victim. It was Paredes’ second homer with the Phillies this season and third overall.
Joel De La Cruz, called out of the bullpen by the Braves to start for the traded Lucas Harrell, allowed three hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision.
De La Cruz walked Cody Ashe and gave up a single to Freddy Galvis with one out in the fifth before being pulled after 62 pitches. Ian Krol came in and got Eickhoff to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Phillies had five hits against six Atlanta pitchers. Rookie Mauricio Cabrera (2-0) got credit for the victory after pitching the seventh inning.
Ender Inciarte had two hits for the Braves, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.
The victory gave the Braves (37-69) a split of the four-game series and kept the Phillies (48-59) from winning consecutive series against them for the first time since taking four in a row from 2011 into 2012.
NOTES: OF Matt Kemp, acquired by the Braves from San Diego on Saturday in exchange for OF Hector Olivera, will join the team Tuesday for the opener of a three-game home series with Pittsburgh. Kemp, 31, hit .262 with 23 homers and 69 RBIs for the Padres. … The Braves placed LHP Matt Marksbury on the 15-day disabled list because of left rotator cuff inflammation. He had to leave after making 15 pitches in the ninth inning Saturday against the Phillies. … INF Daniel Castro was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett by the Braves. … The Phillies return home from a 10-game road trip to face San Francisco on Tuesday for the first of three games. RHP Zach Eflin (3-4, 4.23 ERA) will start against Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner (10-6, 2.09). … Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (4-4, 4.30 ERA) will pitch on Tuesday against Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (6-6, 2.78 ERA).