Phillies: Darin Ruf leads Giants, Gabe Kapler past Dodgers
By Matt Rappa
Former Phillies slugger Darin Ruf helped the Giants in many ways to a 3-1 win over the Dodgers on Sunday
We are officially through the first series of the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season. And, while the Philadelphia Phillies offense and bullpen largely came up short against the once-lowly Miami Marlins, their former manager Gabe Kapler and 1B/OF Darin Ruf found success in a four-game road series split opposite the potent Los Angeles Dodgers.
During Sunday evening’s national broadcast, Ruf singled home the Giants’ first run in the top of the third off of promising young Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias. He laced another single before that in the top of the first.
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And, while he started the game at first base for the Giants, Kapler moved him to left field in the bottom of the sixth to keep pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval in the game at his prior position. Three batters into the frame, he made a tremendous catch while crashing into and opening the left field gate. The play helped keep the Giants 2-1 lead intact. They would go on to win, 3-1, and improve to 2-2 on the season.
“We were wondering if there was going to be any kind of penalty for him running into the wall. It was a really nice play,” Kapler said after the game.
Not only did Ruf preserve the 2-1 lead, he helped the Giants grab an insurance run the very next half-inning. With one out, the Omaha, Nebraska, native walked, before stealing just his second career base to advance to second. Soon after, he was singled home.
What made the night even better? Former Phillies southpaw starting pitcher Drew Smyly started the game for the Giants and allowed only one run through 3 1/3 innings. Another former Phillie, Hunter Pence, was their starting designated hitter; the 37-year-old is hitless through 11 at-bats this season.
Overall, through two games and eight-bats this season, Ruf has scored one run while producing three singles, two RBI, one walk, and three strikeouts. The Giants are 2-0 in both games Ruf has appeared in this season — a 5-4 win on Saturday and 3-1 win on Sunday.
Ruf, 33, was drafted by the Phillies in the 20th round of the 2009 draft. He played in parts of six seasons in red pinstripes from 2012-16, powering for 35 home runs and 96 RBI across 286 games. The Phillies then traded him to the Dodgers in November 2016, along with Darnell Sweeney, in exchange for eventual Washington Nationals champion Howie Kendrick. Ruf never reached the majors with the Dodgers, however, and would play overseas and have much success in the Korea Baseball Organization in South Korea.
This past offseason, Ruf returned the Major League Baseball. In slashing .375/.444/.375, he appears to be doing well than most so far across the 60-game sprint.