Julio Franco may be the oldest player in the major leagues, but he can still hit.
Franco completed a 13-pitch at-bat with a tie-breaking, three-run double in the eighth inning Saturday as Atlanta rallied past Chicago 5-2.
“I was making some adjustments and timing him pretty good,” Franco said of his matchup with Chicago reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
In the game only because rookie Adam LaRoche fouled a pitch off his foot earlier, Franco fought back from an 0-2 count by fouling off five straight pitches at one point. He eventually worked the count full, then drove a fastball from Farnsworth over Sammy Sosa’s head in right.
“That was one of the best at-bats I’ve ever see,” Chicago manager Dusty Baker said. “That was classic Franco, being the great hitter that he is, and he won the battle that time. You’ve got to give him credit.”
The hit capped a four-run inning and gave the Braves the win a night after they blew a 1-0 lead in the ninth.
“I was surprised he stayed away, that’s my strength,” Franco said. “I was just trying to go to right field.”
Franco, who is tied for the team lead with seven RBIs, has made a believer out of Sosa.
“It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you can hit, you can hit,” Sosa said of Franco. “You have to believe it now. I’d love to have a guy like that on our team.”