Ruf Homers In 9th To Lift Phils, Then Sent Down
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Darin Ruf hit a different kind of walkoff home run.
The Phillies prospect launched a solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6, then walked off to the minor league camp.
Philadelphia assigned Ruf to Triple-A after the win.
“It kind of caught me off-guard a little bit, but it’s part of the game,” Ruf said. “They’re not disappointed in anything I’ve done so far. It’s just that I need to get out there and play left field on a daily basis.”
The 26-year-old Ruf hit 38 home runs in Double-A last year and hit three more in a late-season call-up by the Phillies.
Left field is something Ruf, who has struggled in the glove department this spring, will have to improve on in Triple-A this season.
But it was Ruf’s bat, and the bat of Atlanta prospect Evan Gattis, that made the most noise on Friday.
Gattis hit home runs in consecutive innings to tie the game at 4. The young catcher had three hits and drove in three runs. He’s hit four homers this spring.
B.J. Upton hit a home run an inning later to give the Braves a 5-4 lead.
“Gattis got his swing back again, which is good to see,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Two home runs and a little bloop that he muscled out there. And he caught the ball well. Good, productive day.”
Erik Kratz doubled twice as the Phillies took a 4-0 lead.
Jonathan Papelbon earned the win after a perfect ninth inning with a strikeout.
Paul Maholm turned in a solid performance over six innings for the Braves, scattering seven hits for four unearned runs. He struck out five.
Adam Morgan started for Philadelphia, a couple of weeks after he was reassigned to the minor league camp. The Phillies had him pitch to give some arms a rest.
Morgan went 4 2-3 innings, giving up four hits and a run. He struck out five against the Braves, who he grew up rooting for in Marietta, Ga.
Morgan could be in line for big league consideration if one the Phillies starters is out this year.
“How awesome was that?” Morgan said. “Even if it is spring training, I can say I pitched pretty well against the Braves.”
NOTES: The Phillies made two other roster moves after the game, releasing pitcher Rodrigo Lopez and reassigning Jermaine Mitchell to minor league camp. … The Braves will play their final split-squad games this spring on Saturday. Julio Teheran will start against the Astros at home while Jason Heyward and the Upton brothers will make the trip to Dunedin to play the Blue Jays. … Phillies RF Delmon Young played in his first game of the spring, a minor league game in Dunedin, where he went 1 for 4 with a home run off R.A. Dickey. He only hit and ran to first base, as he is still recovering from microfracture surgery in November. … Phillies C Carlos Ruiz said X-rays were negative on his left hand after getting hit by a pitch Thursday in the Phillies’ 6-1 loss to the Red Sox. He will catch for Roy Halladay in a minor league game Saturday.