Darin Ruf had been struggling before Sunday when he went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and the game-winning solo home run in the Phillies 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Before Sunday, Ruf had been 4 for 33 (.121) with one home run in his previous 12 games.
He has shown both positives and negatives in his second stint with the Phillies.
The positive is 13 home runs in his first 188 at-bats. The negative was 68 strikeouts in that span.
What is also interesting is how he has struggled against lefthanders. Ruf is 9 for 53 (.170) with three home runs and five RBIs against southpaws.
He did get an RBI single against Braves lefthander Paul Maholm and his home run came against righthander David Carpenter.
Sunday’s game was a confidence booster for Ruf, who hit his game-winning homer to right-center, something he has been working on instead of trying to pull everything.
“I kind of always work on that,” Ruf said about hitting the other way. “It’s nice to just have it happen naturally in the game and it’s one thing when you can do it in batting practice but to translate it to the game, you feel confident, comfortable.”
Pitchers have been daring Ruf to go to right field with the way they have pitched to him.
“He seems to get a lot of pitches away so he stayed on that in a big moment,” interim manager Ryne Sandberg said of Ruf’s home run. “That is what he needs to continue to do is utilize the whole field and go with the pitches away and that was a good time for him to pull through and drive one.”