Phillies fans got one thing last night that they have been clamoring for since the middle of August- Darin Ruf in the starting lineup. The minor league sensation made his first Major League start and, in his first at bat of the game, he got his first Major League hit on a ball he crushed 384 feet to left field for his first Major League homerun. The Phillies gave him the silent treatment for five minutes before swamring him in the dugout. Dom Brown had a solo homerun and Carlos Ruiz hit a three run bomb, his 16th of the year, to pace the Phillies offense. Cole Hamels had a shaky start throwing 99 pitches in just five innings of work but lasted long enough to get his career high 16th win of the season. The Phillies remain 5.5 games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot with eight games to play. Their playoff hopes look beyond bleak. More here.
The Braves avenged their epic September 2011 postseason collapse last night. Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth and Chipper Jones on third base, first baseman Freddie Freeman stepped to the plate. On a 2-1 pitch from Mike Dunn, Freeman hit a moonshot to dead centerfield that cleared the wall and secured the 4-3 victory for the Braves and, with the win, clinched a playoff spot. More here.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers closer and NL Cy Young winner Eric Gagne has a new biography out and it throws many of his former Dodger teammates under the bus. Without naming names, Gagne says that roughly 80% of his Dodger teammates used performance enhancing drugs such as human growth hormone (HGH). Gagne pitched for Los Angeles from 1999-2006. More here.
Reds manager Dusty Baker expects to return to the team next week after being hospitalized last week. Baker revealed to his players that he suffered a stroke last week and was receiving treatment to minimize the effects of the stroke. Baker, 63, lost a lot of water weight and is itching to get back to his Reds team that recently clinched their second NL Central Division title in three years. More here.