Ruf's homer seals it as Phillies sweep Braves

After stroking a game-winning homer in the eighth, Darin Ruf is greeted at the plate by Kevin Frandsen.
After stroking a game-winning homer in the eighth, Darin Ruf is greeted at the plate by Kevin Frandsen. (RON CORTES / Staff)
Posted: September 10, 2013

It was a weekend of crisp, pulsating baseball when every pitch mattered. The only thing missing was a pennant race.

This was a reminder of what could have been and what many expected, the Phillies and Atlanta Braves going toe-to-toe with little margin for error for either side.

Darin Ruf's solo homer to right-center in the eighth inning off reliever David Carpenter provided the difference in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies completed a three-game weekend sweep, with all three victories by one run. Of course, the fact that they trail the Braves by 191/2 games sort of took the air out of the balloon.

"It's something we can build on," said winning pitcher Cole Hamels, who in eight innings allowed just two hits, monster solo home runs by leftfielder Evan Gattis.

The crowd of 38,706 at Citizens Bank Park saw one of the great power displays by Gattis, who has muscles on top of his muscles.

Gattis flexed them three times, sending two balls way out, while the Phillies survived another near miss.

In the second inning, Gattis crushed a 92-m.p.h. four-seam fastball to center, measured at 486 feet by ESPN's home run tracker. According to ESPN, that was the longest at Citizens Bank Park, besting a 473-foot blast by Ryan Howard on Aug. 30, 2007.

"A tornado may have been blowing and that first one might have got out of here," Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said.

The ball landed in Ashburn Alley above the Tony Luke's sign. When asked if that is about as good as he can hit it, Gattis replied, "Pretty much. That was good."

That's an understatement.

"I felt like I was throwing a golf ball and he had a driver," Hamels said.

Gattis almost homered in his next time up, flying to deep center. Hamels' initial reaction seemed to suggest he thought it was a home run.

"He could have had three today," Hamels said.

Imagine Hamels' reaction the next time Gattis batted when he blasted a solo homer in the seventh to left field.

It was the first multihomer game for the 6-foot-4, 230-pound masher who has 18 homers in 273 at-bats.

Hamels, whose ERA is 3.03 if his first two starts of the season are excluded, didn't have Gattis' number, but had everybody else's.

"It's a situation where you move on and try to get the next guy out," Hamels said. "You are not supposed to lose when giving up solo home runs."

B.J. Rosenberg earned his first career save with a hitless nine-pitch ninth inning. Sandberg said closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had pitched in three of the previous four days, was not available.

The Phillies scored two first-inning runs off starter Paul Maholm on Chase Utley's RBI double to center and Ruff's RBI single up the middle.

"It is great to just play well in all facets of the game - pitching, defense, swinging the bats well - this series," Ruf said. "It was nice to see what we could do in all phases of the game when they are clicking for us."

Extra bases

It was a tough day on the base paths for Cesar Hernandez, who started for the fifth time for the Phillies in center field. Hernandez was picked off first in the first inning and thrown out at third base in the fifth on a laser by Atlanta rightfielder Joey Terdoslavich after a Jimmy Rollins single. . . . The Phillies have moved Roy Halladay back a day and he will start on Wednesday, with Tyler Cloyd taking his scheduled start on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park against the San Diego Padres.

Contact Marc Narducci at Follow @sjnard on Twitter.

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