Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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This rivalry between the Cardinals and Reds continues to live up to the hype.

The Reds kicked off the second half in style last night, defeating the Cardinals 6-5 thanks to a two-out, walk off two-run homer by Brandon Phillips off Cards’ closer Fernando Salas in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Reds were staked to an early 2-0 lead after a pair of solo homers from Chris Heisey, but this game saw three lead changes over the final three innings. The Cardinals jumped out in front in the top of the eighth when Albert Pujols absolutely demolished a 96 mph fastball from Aroldis Chapman for a two-run homer to left field. However, arch enemy Phillips had the last laugh in this one.

The Reds limped into the All-Star break two games under .500 and losers in seven out of their last 10 games, but they still find themselves just three games out in the ultra-competitive National League Central.

Your Friday box scores:

Cardinals 5, Reds 6

Marlins 1, Cubs 2

White Sox 8, Tigers 2

Phillies 7, Mets 2

Indians 6, Orioles 5

Yankees 1, Blue Jays 7 

Nationals 1, Braves 11

Red Sox 6, Rays 9

Pirates 4, Astros 0

Royals 2, Twins 1

Brewers 0, Rockies 4

Angels 3, Athletics 5

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 4

Rangers 4, Mariners 0

Giants 6, Padres 1

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.