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Ruf keeping things simple during hot streak

CHICAGO -- Outfielder Darin Ruf has had quite a month of August, hitting nine home runs in 29 games to become the first Phillies rookie to hit at least nine in a month since Ryan Howard hit 10 in September 2005.

Ruf is hitting .254 with 11 home runs and 20 RBIs in 48 games this season after going 0-for-2 with two walks in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Cubs.

"I've been trying to keep things simple at the plate, just get a pitch I can drive," Ruf said. "I've been fortunate to not miss some of those pitches. I'm glad some of [the home runs] came in some pretty big situations to help the team out."

Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said he's been impressed not only with Ruf's plate appearances but also with his ability to quickly learn how to play right field when the team needed him to start there.

"With Darin, that's been his trend even in the Minor Leagues," Sandberg said of his hot month. "He likes to get hot in August and September, and he's continuing to do that. Right field is very new to him. He had no experience when he came here, and there was a need for him to play right field and he went right out there and did a heck of a job. For me right now he's a three-position guy, a right-handed power bat, and he's shown a lot of good stuff."

"It's a great opportunity to not only help myself and help the team this year, but hopefully put everyone in a position where we can have a lot of success next year," Ruf said. "I'm just trying to learn as much as I can while I'm here -- learn from playing, learn from my teammates and the coaching staff. I've really had a positive experience so far and I'm looking forward to finishing the season strong."

Ruf was in left field on Saturday and made a fielding error in the third inning that led to a run.

Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @MannyBal9.
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