Phillies' bench comes up huge vs. Giants
PHILADELPHIA -- Sunday belonged to the underdog.
It wasn't just that the team that came into the day 15 games below .500 defeated the defending World Series Champions. It was the fact that the underdogs among the underdogs were the people who came through.
In the Phillies' 6-4 victory over the Giants, the winning pitcher came out of the bullpen, the go-ahead runs were driven in by a pinch-hitter and a game-saving catch was made by a player who had just been double-switched in.
To the man who made the aforementioned catch, infielder/outfielder Darin Ruf, this is exactly the kind of day the Phillies try to have.
"It's great on days like this where it comes together and it can be a whole-team win," Ruf said. "Everybody contributes from top to bottom whether you're a regular or a bench guy. It's nice when a lot of guys can contribute to a win."
Ruf's catch came with two outs and two men on base late in the seventh inning of a tie game. Giants first baseman Brandon Belt ripped a ball to the warning track in left-center field. Ruf, who had just entered the game one at-bat earlier alongside Ken Giles in a double switch for left fielder Cody Asche and pitcher Elvis Araujo, didn't have much time to warm up before the play. Regardless of this, Ruf caught the ball, ending the inning and hurling his left shoulder into the outfield wall in the process.
"I've played outfield before so it was just good positioning," Ruf said. "I was watching where Cody was playing him pretty much most of the game and over the last couple of days. I got a good jump on it. Luckily I was able to run it down."
That catch saved the Phillies at least one run from scoring and preserved the tie for another bench player to break open. With the left-handed hitting Odubel Herrera due up with me on first and third and two outs, Giants manager Bruce Bochy subbed out starter Ryan Vogelsong for lefty specialist Javier Lopez. As a counter move, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg opted for Jeff Francoeur as his pinch-hitter.
Francoeur, who hit a grand slam as a starter Saturday, made the most of his at-bat, lining a double over third baseman Matt Duffy's outstretched glove to plate the go-ahead run and an insurance run.
Having recorded six of his 20 RBIs over the last two days, Francoeur said he has a renewed sense of confidence despite his middling .258 batting average and .427 slugging percentage. However, with the grand slam off left-handed ace Madison Bumgarner and the double off Lopez, he does feel revitalized in what he came to Philadelphia to do.
"When I came here the one thing I wanted to do was to make sure I hit lefties," Francoeur said. "My No. 1 priority is to take care of those guys and the last two days I've been able to do that."