Ruf pinch-hits, launches first homer of season

Ruf pinch-hits, launches first homer of season

NEW YORK -- It looked and sounded like Darin Ruf took a year's worth of frustrations out on a 96 mph fastball in the sixth inning Friday night at Citi Field.

He crushed a pinch-hit, two-run home run to left-center field against Josh Smoker in a 10-5 loss to the Mets. Ruf's first home run of the season came with just eight games remaining in 2016, which is something nobody would have predicted at the beginning of the year. He opened the season in a platoon at first base with Ryan Howard, but after he hit just .158 in 31 games, the Phillies optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he remained until they recalled him Sept. 2.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils' homers no match for Mets' muscle

Phils' homers no match for Mets' muscle

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins may grumble at the notion of baseball's expanded rosters in September. But rules are rules, and Collins is doing his best to exploit them, hoping this everyone-plays brand of September baseball will help his club reach October.

Collins used six pitchers and 20 players Friday in a 10-5 win over the Phillies, extending many of them beyond their usual roles to give the Mets a 1 1/2-game National League Wild Card lead over the Cardinals. With eight games to play, New York also moved a game up on the Giants for the best record among NL Wild Card contenders.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gomez still Phils' closer, but will get break

Gomez still Phils' closer, but will get break

NEW YORK -- Jeanmar Gomez will remain the Phillies' closer through the end of the season, but he will not pitch during the next few save situations.

"He's our closer, but the way I look at it is, he's in a slump like hitters are," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said before Friday night's game against the Mets at Citi Field. "For the next couple of chances to close, I'm going to try somebody else, just to give him a break. I said, 'You're still the closer, you stay positive, there's a good chance you'll have another opportunity to close. But the next couple I'll give you a breather.'"

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies drop thriller on Mets' 11th-inning HR

Phillies drop thriller on Mets' 11th-inning HR

NEW YORK -- Ender Inciarte was safely in Miami with the Braves. No one was going to take this win away from the Mets, who needed it so badly.

They had to work all night and they had to come back three times, but when it was all over Asdrubal Cabrera's three-run home run off Edubray Ramos in the 11th inning gave them a dramatic 9-8 win over the Phillies Thursday night at Citi Field.

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Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard homers in return to lineup

Howard homers in return to lineup

NEW YORK -- Ryan Howard is back in the Phillies' lineup.

He started Thursday night's series opener and lifted a solo home run to center field in the fifth inning in the Phillies' 9-8, 11-inning loss to the Mets at Citi Field. Howard had not played since Friday against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park because of swelling in his left knee. He had the knee drained Sunday.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Goeddel diagnosed with concussion after HBP

Goeddel diagnosed with concussion after HBP

NEW YORK -- It is no surprise that Phillies outfielder Tyler Goeddel sustained a concussion Wednesday night.

He got hit in the helmet with a 93-mph fastball from White Sox reliever Chris Beck in the sixth inning of an 8-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park. Goeddel laid on his back at home plate for a couple minutes before standing up and walking back to the Phillies' dugout. The Phillies had no official word about his status following Wednesday's game, but manager Pete Mackanin announced the concussion before Thursday night's game against the Mets at Citi Field.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies chase Sale after just four innings

Phillies chase Sale after just four innings

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin sat one of the hottest hitters in baseball Wednesday night because he did not want White Sox ace Chris Sale to mess with the hitter's mojo.

It turns out the Phillies did not need Odubel Herrera, who had hit .536 in the previous seven games. They hit Sale hard in a 8-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park, hammering seven hits and six runs against him in just four innings. It was the second-shortest start of the season for Sale, who lasted just 3 1/3 innings May 24 against the Indians.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the White Sox on Wednesday.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies glimpse future as youngsters step up

Sluggers, speedsters make case for place on next year's squad

Phillies glimpse future as youngsters step up

PHILADELPHIA -- It is just one game, but a game like this might allow the Phillies to dream a little about the future.

They not only beat the White Sox on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park, 8-3, they beat Sox ace Chris Sale, hammering him for seven hits and six runs in just four innings, making it his second shortest start of the season.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.75 This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mackanin may replace Gomez as closer

Phillies righty has 37 saves this season, but has struggled

Mackanin may replace Gomez as closer

PHILADELPHIA -- Nobody could have predicted Jeanmar Gomez would save 37 games this season.

So then who could have predicted somebody else could still close games for the Phillies in the season's final 11 games? Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has been forced to consider the possibility because Gomez has a 10.13 ERA in 16 appearances since Aug. 14.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard receives club's Clemente recognition

Phillies 1B is one of 30 nominees for MLB's philanthropy award

Howard receives club's Clemente recognition

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard's Phillies' career is nearing its end, but he received one more award Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies presented him their Roberto Clemente Award for representing "the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field."

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera motivated to finish his season strong

Herrera motivated to finish his season strong

PHILADELPHIA -- It has been a long summer for Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

But with just 11 games remaining in the 2016 season he is as hot as anybody in baseball. He went 3-for-4 with one home run, three RBIs, three runs scored and two stolen bases in Tuesday night's 7-6 victory over the White Sox at Citizens Bank Park. Herrera is hitting .538 (15-for-28) with four doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and four stolen bases in his last seven games, raising his batting average from .275 to .288 and his OPS from .756 to .790.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies hang on to knock off White Sox

Phillies hang on to knock off White Sox

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera might want to extend the season a little longer.

Herrera has been one of the hottest hitters on the planet for the past week, and his torrid hitting continued in Tuesday night's 7-6 victory over the White Sox at Citizens Bank Park. He went 3-for-4 with one home run, three RBIs, three runs scored and two stolen bases. He is hitting .536 (15-for-28) with four doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and four stolen bases in his last seven games.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the White Sox on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard could return to lineup on Thursday

Howard could return to lineup on Thursday

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard could be back in the Phillies' lineup as early as Thursday in New York.

He has not played since Friday because of swelling in his left knee. He had the knee drained over the weekend and he could have started Tuesday night in the series opener against the White Sox at Citizens Bank Park, but Phillies manager Pete Mackanin already had made out the lineup before he learned of Howard's improvement.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Owens award-winners honored by Phillies

Owens award-winners honored by Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins and Ben Lively hope the next time they are wearing suits at Citizens Bank Park they are leaving for a road trip with the Phillies.

It could happen as early as next season, but Tuesday night they were at the ballpark to receive their Paul Owens Awards as the organization's best Minor League players and pitcher.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Are Phils' young bats as strong as arms?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from Philadelphia fans

Inbox: Are Phils' young bats as strong as arms?

I like what I see from the Phillies' young starting pitchers, but what do you think about the offense?
-- Brendan C., Harleysville, Pa.

Pat Gillick said a couple years ago that it might be at least 2018 before the Phillies are contenders again, and he might be right, based on the Phils' offense.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera, Galvis homer, but 'pen loses late lead

Herrera, Galvis homer, but 'pen loses late lead

PHILADELPHIA -- It left the bat as a routine popup to first baseman Tommy Joseph, with the Phillies well on their way to escaping the eighth in a tie ballgame. But two plays later, Marcell Ozuna scored the go-ahead run in the Marlins' 5-4 comeback win over the Phillies on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

Just into the grass behind first, Joseph settled under Ozuna's pop. But second baseman Cesar Hernandez ranged over into Joseph's territory, with no apparent communication, and the two bumped into each other, allowing the ball to fall to the ground and Ozuna to reach second. J.T. Realmuto smashed a ball to third baseman Maikel Franco, who gloved it but threw wide of first base to allow Realmuto to reach safely and Ozuna to score.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Marlins on Sunday.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Phillies on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrera, Galvis offer promise for young Phils

Herrera, Galvis offer promise for young Phils

PHILADELPHIA -- Over the last week, Odubel Herrera has looked like the player who earned a bid to the All-Star Game this year. Freddy Galvis has looked like a power hitter for the last six weeks.

Both trends are promising for the Phillies as the 2016 season winds down, and they both were on full display in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Herrera and Galvis combined for five of the Phillies' eight hits and both knocked solo homers.

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Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch this amazing barehanded fan catch in slo-mo

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Watch this amazing barehanded fan catch in slo-mo

A barehanded catch on a screaming liner is one of the greatest things a fan can do -- after devouring an entire batting helmet filled with nachos, that is. 

Aaron Altherr laced a liner into the stands in the second inning of Sunday's Marlins-Phillies game, where this fan was ready. Not only did he display some expert reflexes and the requisite hand-eye coordination ability to make the grab, but the cameras managed to catch this one in full slow-mo. 

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Phillies take part in community food drive

PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Schmidt and others on Sunday morning helped bring in donations to a food drive just outside Citizens Bank Park.

The ShopRite Partners In Caring Food Drive featured buy-one-get-one-free gameday tickets for anyone who donated food.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellickson blanks Marlins after early cushion

Hellickson blanks Marlins after early cushion

PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins' Wild Card hopes continue to plummet.

The Phillies made sure of that, scoring five in the first and two more in the second off Marlins starter Jose Urena in an 8-0 win on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park, clinching a win for the Phils both in their final set against the Marlins this year and in the season series.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Marlins on Saturday.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Joseph continues strong rookie campaign with 20th HR

Joseph continues strong rookie campaign with 20th HR

PHILADELPHIA -- So how many people had Tommy Joseph in their 20-and-over home run pool in 2016?

Not even Joseph could have predicted the year he has had with the Phillies. The rookie hit his 20th homer of the season in the second inning of Saturday night's 8-0 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard dealing with left knee swelling

Howard dealing with left knee swelling

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard only has so many more opportunities to play in front of the hometown crowd as a member of the Phillies. But he had to be scratched from Saturday night's 8-0 win over the Marlins because of swelling in his left knee.

Howard said before the game that he has "a little bit" of fluid in the knee. He underwent surgery on it in July 2013, forcing him to miss the rest of the season, and he had the knee drained last September, which cost him the final couple of weeks.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Paredes' walk-off single sinks Marlins in 13

Paredes' walk-off single sinks Marlins in 13

PHILADELPHIA -- Arguably the most powerful active Major Leaguer returned to the Marlins' starting lineup on Friday night to help propel them in the race for the National League Wild Card. But Giancarlo Stanton's first start in more than a month was overshadowed by the 13th-inning heroics by the Phillies to sink the Marlins, 4-3, and drop them five games back of the Mets, who defeated the Twins.

The Phillies got the winning run 90 feet away in two straight innings, but it took loading the bases and the Marlins going with a five-man infield for them to prevail. Peter Bourjos, who led off the 13th with a single after entering the game in the 12th, nearly scored on Odubel Herrera's single into center field but was held up at third.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Marlins on Friday.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nola, Eflin 'on track' in recovery process

Nola, Eflin 'on track' in recovery process

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' rebuild might have sustained a setback in August when they placed Aaron Nola on the disabled list with a season-ending right elbow injury. The team hopes Nola will be ready by Spring Training, but nobody knows for certain.

"I think that remains to be seen, right?" Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said, when asked how much of a setback Nola's injury has been. "We don't know the full extent of what's going on with Nola. If he comes back and is healthy and ready and able for Opening Day next year, that probably had minimal impact. It impacted our team for the final couple months of this year, but in the long run, it may not."

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Herrmann collects 1st win since 2011

Herrmann collects 1st win since 2011

PHILADELPHIA -- Frank Herrmann never reached the pile of madness in shallow center field, where his Phillies teammates had pursued and ultimately snared Jimmy Paredes.

Paredes had just produced the pinch-hit, walk-off single to right-center field in the 13th inning of Friday night's 4-3 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The hit scored Peter Bourjos from third base and ended a four-hour, 43-minute marathon that featured a combined 45 players.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect Crawford undergoes left knee surgery

Shortstop expected to be ready for Spring Training

Prospect Crawford undergoes left knee surgery

PHILADELPHIA -- Top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Wednesday to remove a "loose body." The team said Crawford will rest for the next four weeks but will otherwise have a normal offseason.

Crawford is expected to be ready to compete by the beginning of Spring Training.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils' interference plays role in Marlins' 1st run

Gordon awarded base after colliding with Morgan

Phils' interference plays role in Marlins' 1st run

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard dove, got up and dove again with the ball secured in his glove on a fifth-inning dribbler off Dee Gordon's bat during Friday's 4-3 13-inning Phillies win over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

By the time Howard's outstretched leather tagged the first-base bag, however, Adam Morgan had already left the ground, on a collision course in the air over first base with Gordon.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Klentak excited for Phils' future amid rebuild

GM identifies where club, players succeeded and fell short in 2016

Klentak excited for Phils' future amid rebuild

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have a little more than two weeks to play in the 2016 season and perhaps nobody is more excited than general manger Matt Klentak, who will try to advance the organization's rebuild in the coming months.

The Phillies already can say they won more games this season (65) than last season (63), but where do they truly stand? The starting pitching has shown positive signs, but they also lost Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin to season-ending injuries. The offense remains the worst in Major League Baseball, ranking last in on-base percentage (.296) and runs per game (3.66) entering Thursday. Top prospects J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams did not perform as well as some had hoped in Triple-A, dampening preseason expectations they could be everyday contributors by early next season.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.