By Sam Bush
Darin Ruf crushed a pinch-hit, two-run home run to left-center field against Josh Smoker in a 10-5 loss to the Mets last night.
It was Ruf’s first home run of the season.
He opened 2016 in a platoon at first base with Ryan Howard, but after he hit just .158 in 31 games, the Phillies optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he remained until they recalled him Sept. 2.
“It would have been tough to look back on the year after hitting 14 homers in ’13 and 12 last year to be shut out an entire year,” Ruf said. “It would have been tough, so I’m glad I got one.”
Ruf’s blast traveled a projected 450 feet from home plate, according to Statcast™, making it the Phillies’ fifth-longest homer of the season. It also left his bat at 109.6 mph, making it the ninth-hardest-hit homer from Phillies this year.
Not bad, considering it was Ruf’s first plate appearance since Sept. 13.
“It’s just one at-bat,” Ruf said. “I mean, lucky that I was on the fastball. It’s part of being a professional hitter. It doesn’t matter how many games in between at-bats, you need to go out there. And no matter how bad or good you feel, put together an at-bat to help the team.”
Said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: “Sometimes it’s good to come in cold like that. You just look for the ball and swing.”