By Sam Bush
Phils rookie hurler David Buchanan didn’t get a win yesterday against the Mets but he pitched well enough to do so.
Anthony Recker, the Mets’ backup catcher, came through with his fourth homer of the season, a three-run shot off Justin De Fratus that proved to be the decisive blow in the Phillies’ 5-3 loss at Citizens Bank Park. After allowing the game-tying hit in the top of the seventh, Buchanan was pulled in a 2-2 ballgame. By the time De Fratus recorded an out, it was 5-2.
De Fratus allowed a single to Wilmer Flores before Recker’s no-doubter to left field. His ERA jumped .38 points to 2.90.
“Just a poorly executed pitch,” De Fratus said. “Probably two of my worst sliders of the year. The one that [Recker] fouled before and then the homer.”
Entering Monday, the Phillies’ bullpen had allowed just one earned run over its last 24 2/3 innings. The 0.36 ERA since Aug. 5 ranked second among all Major League bullpens. That was a big factor in Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg’s decision to pull Buchanan after 93 pitches.
“Our bullpen’s been lights out. So I’m not surprised by the decision,” Buchanan said.
“They’ve been on a hot streak,” Sandberg said of his bullpen. “I mean this is one game today. This is one inning, it’s one pitch. They’ve been real steady for most of the year, really.”
Darin Ruf (right in photo above) doubled his home run and RBI totals with an approximately 420-foot blast to center field in the fourth. Ruf, who is vying for playing time in a crowded outfield, has just two homers and four RBIs in an injury-ridden 2014 season, a year after going yard 14 times and driving in 30 runs.
With Ryan Howard struggling this season, there was talk about a possible platoon situation between him and Ruf at first base. But that has yet to materialize, although Sandberg said Ruf is still a candidate to see some spot starts at first.
“I never really thought that way. Whenever I saw my name in the lineup, I just try to take advantage of the opportunity,” Ruf said. “If it was back-to-back days, if it was every fifth day, you just take it for what it’s worth and try to help the team.”
That being the case, Ruf has adapted to the uncertainty of not being an everyday player.
“It’s taken a little while,” he said. “But talking to some of the guys that have done it over the years, it’s really important to keep the same routine every day in the cage.”
The Phillies had an opportunity to chip into the lead in the seventh on a Ben Revere single, but Mets center fielder Juan Lagares threw out Domonic Brown at the plate to end the inning withJimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd due up.