Ruiz, Young Blasts Lift Phillies In 7-3 Win Over Giants
PHILADELPHIA—The night’s agenda provided a refreshing diversion. The Phillies pulled the e-brake on a season-long eight-game losing streak. Fan favorite Carlos Ruiz rocketed his first home run of the season, for the game’s go-ahead runs. The bullpen preserved. The 36,492 fans that showed up hung around.
But life outside the bubble of tonight’s 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park remained. The team is inadequate. Its farm system, lean. The trade deadline is imminent. The general manager is limited.
Makes it tough to focus on much else.
"I think the trade deadline, it is a distraction," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think a lot of our players, because of who they are and what they're trying to achieve and everything like that, I think that it's played a part on them, how they think and everything. I'll be glad when it's over."
As for the game...
Ruiz crushed a two-run shot in the fourth inning on a 1-1 fastball off Giants starter Barry Zito, who exited one batter later, to break a 2-2 tie. Michael Young unloaded another homer in the sixth off reliever Guillermo Moscoso to make it 6-2. Two players that could be playing their last games in red pinstripes, doing their best to make it memorable.
"I think Carlos last year showed you what kind of hitter he is could be," Manuel said. "He's having a hard time getting back to that."
Young scored earlier on a Delmon Young single as part of a two-run first inning to answer Pablo Sandoval sac fly.
"I'll be glad when it's over, but it hasn't been a distraction," Young said. "When I'm in the lineup I get a peace of mind. I've been doing it since I was four years old."
John Mayberry took a full-count ball to walk in a run later in the frame, and slapped an RBI single in the seventh to make it 7-2. Darin Ruf took a pitch to the shoulder on a frightening play that helped underscore his effectiveness: with it, he reached base for his 28th straight game. Cody Asche, hoped to have as much promise or more, popped out on the first pitch of his major league debut in a pinch-hit at-bat in the seventh.
John Lannan was strong, surrendering three runs on seven hits and two walks over solid seven innings with three strikeouts, lowering his ERA 4.10. Antonio Bastardo, Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman closed the door with two scoreless frames.
And with a half-day before tomorrow’s 4:00 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, the news wire flickered. ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported the Red Sox are no longer involved in trade discussions for Cliff Lee, the player with the most potential to impact the roster.
Young, thought before the game to be amenable only to a trade to his former team, is reportedly willing to waive his no-trade rights in a move to other destinations, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, with the Rangers and Red Sox among those mentioned. Herein, the first real sliver of hope that the roster will undergo change.
Young relishes his control over his fate.
"Oh yeah," Young said. "I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, but I do know that if something comes up, the Phillies will give me a call. We'll go from there."
Though the 36-year-old wouldn't say whether he prefers to stay or go.
"For 4:01 p.m. to get here quickly, that's my preference," he joked.
A report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan emerged that suggests players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal will be suspended within 72 hours for 50 games or more and that none of them, including Detroit shortstop and 2014 free agent Jhonny Peralta, will appeal. But instead of creating a opportunity, it serves only as a string on the finger about Jimmy Rollins’ comments on a few Phillies all-time individual records and his no-trade rights.
"We do have talent here," Young said. "I think the biggest thing is taking the last two months as a challenge. There's something to be said about, when you take the field, you have to have a certain amount of pride in how you play the game, the way you prepare for the game. If players do that, we're going to get the best results we possibly can."
Barring change, which looks increasingly unlikely by the minute, it's hard to see those results looking much better than those of the three months that necessitated it.