MILWAUKEE — Odubel Herrera hit his seventh home run of the season and Maikel Franco finished with four hits. However, Nick Pivetta gave up eight runs in the second inning — including a three-run home run and a grand slam — as the Phillies opened the second half with a 9-6 loss to the NL Central-leading Brewers Friday night at Miller Park.
Starting pitching report
Coming off the two of his best outings of his rookie season, Pivetta got off to a terrific start — striking out his first four batters — but allowed seven straight batters to reach in the second before a Ryan Braun grand slam.
Pivetta stabilized quickly from there and retired his next nine in a row.
"It was like two different pitchers out there today," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He struck out four in a row, then he just didn't locate any of his pitches. He hung every breaking ball he threw up there in that one span of eight or nine hitters, then he was a different pitcher after that. The home run and the grand slam did him in."'
Pivetta was charged with nine runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five over five innings of work.
At the plate
The Phillies gave Pivetta an early lead, scoring two in the opening inning on an RBI single by Franco and Nick Williams' sacrifice fly.
And even after Pivetta put the offense in an 8-2 hole in the second, the Phillies kept chipping away.
Franco finished with four hits on the day and is now batting .279 (19 for 51) in 12 career games against Milwaukee with five doubles, five home runs and five RBIs.
Mackanin was optimistic that Friday marked a breakout point for Franco, who batted .213 in the first half.
"We've seen it before," Mackanin said. "He had four hits in Boston and it looked like he had it figured out. The true test is three or four days. I hope so."
Rightfielder Aaron Altherr hit a pair of doubles but left the game after his two-bagger in the fifth with what the team described as a mild strain of the right hamstring (see story). He is considered day to day, Mackanin said after the loss.
"I don't know how severe it is," Mackanin said. "If it's mild, it's a day or two. We won't know for sure until tomorrow."
The three-game series with the Brewers continues Saturday at Miller Park as right-hander Aaron Nola (6-6, 3.59 ERA) takes on Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson (8-4, 3.30).
Nelson is 1-1 with a 6.89 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies, while Nola faced Milwaukee twice last season, holding the Brewers to just a single earned run in 13 innings of work (0.69 ERA).