CLEARWATER, Fla. — Darin Ruf hit a different kind of walkoff home run.
The Phillies prospect launched a home run with two outs in the bottom of the
ninth inning to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6, then walked off to the minor league camp.
Ruf was assigned to Triple-A after the win.
“It kind of caught me off-guard a little bit, but it’s part of the game,” Ruf said. “They’re not disappointed in anything I’ve done so far. It’s just that I need to get out there and play left field on a daily basis.”
Ruf, 26, hit 38 home runs in Double-A last year and hit three more in a late-season call-up by the Phillies.
Left field is something Ruf, who has struggled in the glove department this spring, will have to improve on in Triple-A this season.
But it was Ruf’s bat, and the bat of Atlanta prospect Evan Gattis, that made the most noise on Friday.
Gattis hit home runs in consecutive innings to tie the game at 4.
The young catcher had three hits and drove in three runs. He’s hit four homers this spring.
B.J. Upton hit a home run an inning later to give the Braves a 5-4 lead.
“Gattis got his swing back again, which is good to see,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Two home runs and a little bloop that he muscled out there. And he caught the ball well. Good, productive day.”
Erik Kratz doubled twice as the Phillies took a 4-0 lead.
Jonathan Papelbon earned the win after a perfect ninth with a strikeout.
Paul Maholm was solid over six innings for the Braves, scattering seven hits for four unearned runs. He struck out five.
Adam Morgan started for Philadelphia, a couple of weeks after he was reassigned to the minor league camp. The Phillies had him pitch to give some arms a rest.
Morgan went 4⅔ innings, giving up four hits and a run. He struck out five against the Braves, who he grew up rooting for in Marietta, Ga.
Morgan could be in line for big league consideration if one the Phillies starters is out this year.
“How awesome was that?” Morgan said. “Even if it is spring training, I can say I pitched pretty well against the Braves.”