Although Carlos Ruiz has endured his share of adversity this season, he's hoping his late-game heroics can spark the Philadelphia Phillies to a strong finish.
Another date with the Colorado Rockies is likely to help his cause.
Ruiz and the Phillies hope to build on their dramatic victory and beat the Rockies for the 19th time in 23 home games Thursday night when they wrap up a four-game series.
Trailing by one in the ninth inning, Ruiz delivered a game-tying, pinch-hit RBI double off Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, and Michael Young followed with a walk-off single to give the Phillies (56-70) a 4-3 victory Wednesday.
After serving a 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant to open the season and missing nearly a month with a strained hamstring, Ruiz finally has found his groove at the plate. The veteran catcher has gone 7 for 12 in his last four games and is hitting .340 since Aug. 3. He's also 10 for 22 with two home runs and seven RBIs in his last seven games against the Rockies.
"Definitely with everything that happened, it was tough for me," Ruiz told the team's official website. "I came back from the suspension, then I got hurt. It's not an excuse, but it was hard to pick it up. There's nothing I can do about that; it's in the past, so I'm going to do my best right now, and hopefully I'll do well."
The Phillies haven't done well offensively, averaging 2.6 runs while batting .191 over their last 12 games. However, they have outscored the Rockies 126-72 while going 18-4 at home against them since Sept. 13, 2007.
Colorado rookie Chad Bettis (0-2, 5.30 ERA) will have to bounce back after getting tagged for eight runs - though only two earned thanks to an error by Troy Tulowitzki - over 2 2-3 innings in an 8-4 loss at Baltimore on Saturday.
The right-hander walked four, giving him 12 over 18 2-3 innings in his four starts.
"Chad battled," manager Walt Weiss said. "He just struggled, threw a lot of pitches, got some bad counts and really had to work hard."
Bettis could have his hands full with Chase Utley, who is hitting .375 in his last 14 games versus the Rockies (59-69). Teammate John Mayberry is batting .367 in his last nine at home against them.
The Phillies hope to deal Colorado its fifth loss in six games by giving the ball to right-hander Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.36).
While Kendrick is 3-6 with a 6.38 ERA over his last nine starts, he showed improvement Saturday when he allowed two runs over six innings in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers.
Kendrick wasn't as effective in his last start versus the Rockies, matching a season high by allowing seven runs and 10 hits over 4 1-3 innings before the Phillies rallied for an 8-7 victory on June 14. He's 3-2 with a 5.62 ERA in nine career starts against them.
He'll attempt to cool off Wilin Rosario, who is batting .353 with four home runs and 15 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak.
Teammate Michael Cuddyer has gone 8 for 19 over his last five games, while Dexter Fowler - 3 for 8 against Kendrick - is hitting .400 in his last 10 against the Phillies.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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