RUF’S 3-RUN HR (6TH IN LAST 21 GAMES) LIFTS PHILLIES PAST METS 4-3

By Sam Bush

With only a few games left in the 2015 regular season, the Mets are going to the playoffs and the Phillies are going fishing, or whatever it is that young MLB players do after the season is done.

But the Phillies are trying to avoid a 100-loss season, and last night’s 4-3 win at the Bank was a good night’s work.

The Mets leaned on Bartolo Colon for just five innings before turning to Jon Niese for his second career relief appearance. The loss shaved the Mets’ home-field advantage lead to one game over the Dodgers, who defeated the Giants on Tuesday night to win the NL West. The Mets hold the tiebreaker in that race.

“We had our chances,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “It’s just one of those things.”

Colon made just one significant mistake, allowing Darin Ruf’s three-run homer in the first inning. But that plus an RBI single from Aaron Altherr in the seventh was all the Phillies needed; starter David Buchanan gave them 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball and manager Pete Mackanin pieced together another 13 outs from his bullpen. The only blemish for Buchanan was Lucas Duda’s solo homer in the fourth. Duda added a two-run homer off Ken Giles in the ninth.

Ruff, the Phils’ first baseman blasted a 1-2 pitch from Colon over the wall of the deepest part in Citizens Bank Park for an early 3-0 lead. It was Ruf’s 11th homer of the season and sixth in his last 21 games. Odubel Herrera and Altherr each hit a single in the inning and scored on Ruf’s homer.

“Ruf’s three-run homer, I think, really gave us some confidence going into the game,” Mackanin said. “It was nice to see him come through. He’s been swinging the bat better against right-handers.”

The Mets blew a chance to get back into the game in the sixth inning, when a single, a Phillies fielding error and a pinch-hit walk loaded the bases with one out. But Curtis Granderson popped up and David Wright flied out, preserving the 3-1 lead.

Phillies reliever Adam Loewen got his first MLB win since April 21, 2007. The lefty only faced one batter, but he struck out the red-hot Lucas Duda to end the fifth inning. Loewen’s last win came when he was pitching for the Orioles against the Blue Jays. Since his last win, Loewen — who recorded a hit to start the home half of the fifth — had a stint as an outfielder and appeared in 14 games with Toronto in 2011.

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