Darin Ruf usurped the Erie SeaWolves’ new role as Eastern League spoilers with one mighty swing Thursday night.
Ruf, the league’s home-run leader, added to his total with a seventh-inning grand slam off Erie reliever Kelvin De La Cruz. His 33rd homer was the difference in the Phillies’ 7-6 win at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Erie, eliminated from any postseason possibilities with Wednesday’s loss to Akron, fell to 55-75 in the league’s Western Division. Its latest setback came in the opener of its final road trip for 2012.
Reading not only moved to 69-62 in the league’s Eastern Division standings, but claimed second place outright when New Hampshire beat New Britain 9-6. The Phillies and Rock Cats began Thursday tied for the division’s wild-card playoff berth.
– Mike Copper
Although Ruf socked his slam off De La Cruz, SeaWolves starter James Avery (10-11) was charged with the loss because he permitted two two-out singles that started Reading’s rally. The right-hander leads all Erie pitchers in victories, although his last winning decision was July 20.
Tug Hulett actually finished the game with Reading’s best batting numbers. The third baseman was 4-for-4 with an RBI.
Jordan Lennerton recorded three of Erie’s 10 hits, with Niuman Romero’s sixth-inning single his league-leading 149th. Romero’s season total is the fourth most in franchise history.