Jeff Passan, Y! Sports
ST. LOUIS — Ben Francisco's swing looked good. He stood in the batting cage in the bowels of Busch Stadium hacking away against Ali Modami, same as he'd done thousands of other times. Nobody knows Francisco's swing quite like Modami, the Philadelphia Phillies' batting-practice pitcher and Francisco's personal pitching machine in the offseason.
"There's a different trajectory when he's hitting it well," Modami said. "More loft. And today was really good."
Just how good not even Modami could have guessed. Francisco drilled a three-run pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning, and despite some late-game scares from the Phillies' bullpen, it proved the difference in their 3-2 victory against St. Louis that gave Philadelphia a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five National League Division Series.
Every offseason, Francisco and Modami drive a few miles from their houses in Scottsdale, Ariz., and meet up at the home of former Cy Young winner Mark Davis, who has aRead More »from Familiarity produces Francisco’s winning blast