NEW BRITAIN, CT - In a battle for first place in the Eastern Division - the New Britain Rock Cats entered the night just a half game behind Reading - the Phillies' Darin Ruf had six RBI and slugged a grand slam home run to help power the Phillies to a 10-3 victory on Thursday night.
New Britain starter Logan Darnell retired seven of the first eight batters he faced before running into trouble in the third inning. With one out, Darnell (3-2) walked Troy Hanzawa before serving up back-to-back singles to Tyson Gillies and Cesar Hernandez to load the bases. That brought Ruf to the plate, who hammered a shot over the left field wall that gave the R-Phils a 4-0 lead.
The Phillies (21-11) struck again in the fourth when Hanzawa doubled in Miguel Abreu - who had led off the inning with a base hit into center - with one out. Suddenly, the Rock Cats found themselves down five runs.
"We let it get away from us early," said Rock Cats manager Jeff Smith. "We had a good tempo going. It looked like it would be a good pitching match-up, a low scoring game."
The Rock Cats (20-13) got on the board in the fourth courtesy of Evan Bigley's RBI double. In the fifth, Chris Colabello grounded into a double play that allowed Chris Herrmann to score and cut the lead, 6-2.
That was as close as the 'Cats would come, though, as Reading scored four times in the sixth to break open the game. The inning was highlighted by Ruf's two-run double.
"It got away from us," said Smith, "and they kept pouring it on."
Drew Naylor (2-0) scattered seven hits while striking out six and limiting the 'Cats to one earned run in six innings for Reading.
ALLSTATE PLAYER OF THE GAME: LF Wilkin Ramirez had three hits, an RBI and scored a run.