Carlos Ruiz ripped a double off the left-center field wall in the seventh inning Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park to score three runs and lead the Mariners to an 11-6 victory over the Phillies. Ruiz played for the Phillies from 2006-16, playing a key role in some of the greatest moments in arguably the greatest era in franchise history. So instead of boos cascading from the stands onto the field following a late-game meltdown from the Phillies bullpen, more than a few Phillies fans cheered Chooch's clutch knock against his former team.
Ruiz, the oldest active catcher in the Majors at 38, was just 3-for-30 with one RBI on the season when he came to plate. But he knocked in three runs there and added a sacrifice fly in the eighth for his first four-RBI day since 2014.
"I felt like my legs were not on the ground," Ruiz said of the roar from the crowd as he stood on second after his bases-clearing double. "It was real special. That was huge for my team and also to see the ovation from the fans who supported me. I say thank you to them because they were really good to me while I was here. I'm so happy they did that and at same time happy that we got a 'W.'"
Aaron Altherr stayed hot for the Phillies. He hit a three-run home run to left field in the third inning against Mariners right-hander Yovani Gallardo to tie the game at 3. He also hit a solo homer in the ninth. Altherr has hit a three-run homer in three consecutive games, becoming just the third Phillies player since 1929 to accomplish the feat. Mike Schmidt (1981) and Andy Seminick (1949) are the others.
"Yeah, it's definitely been quite a while since I've felt this good at the plate," Altherr said. "But, unfortunately it's in a loss and hopefully we can get back on track here soon."
The Mariners (17-17) swept the two-game series to reach .500 for the first time this season. Meanwhile, the Phillies (13-19) have lost 10 of their last 12 games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cano is just fine:Robinson Cano left Tuesday night's game because of a strained quadriceps, but he sure looked fine Wednesday. He singled in the first, hit a two-run homer in the third and singled in the fifth against Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin. Cano then singled to center against Joaquin Benoit to start the five-run rally to take the lead in the seventh.
"I'm okay," Cano said. "I felt it a little bit on the last at-bat, but I'll be in there tomorrow."
Piling on: The Mariners scored three runs on Phillies right-hander Jake Thompson's first six pitches in the eighth to make it an eight-run game. It included a towering home run from Danny Valencia. The ball left Valencia's bat at 108.4 mph and traveled 429 feet, according to Statcast™, to cap a 4-for-6 day for the first baseman.
"That's kind of the formula right now, have our starter keep us in the game and go to our bullpen and keep it tight enough where our offense can kind of figure things out," Mariners manager Scott Servais said after his team put up eight runs in the seventh and eighth to finish with 21 runs and 32 hits in the two-game series.
"I feel like I'm struggling swinging the bat, but they gave me a chance with the bases loaded and I told myself, 'You have to do something.' I tried to get myself ready to hit and relax at the same time and finally I got a big double. That was huge and I feel much better." -- Ruiz
"One day I'm seventh [inning], I've started in the sixth, I've been in the ninth, the eighth. Right now I'm all over the place. It's a little bit consistency, and not just the pitching staff, but the people that run it, too." -- Joaquin Benoit, on the bullpen's struggles. He said the relievers would perform better in set roles
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Mariners rookie right fielder Ben Gamel went 2-for-4 with a pair of walks and finished the two-game series by reaching base in nine of his 12 plate appearances, with five runs and four RBIs. The 24-year-old has hit .373 in 13 games since being called up from Triple-A.
Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph is tearing it up in May. He went 3-for-5 with one double, one home run and one RBI on Wednesday. He is hitting .393 (11 for 28) with four doubles, three home runs, seven RBIs and a 1.357 OPS in nine games this month.
"The way Altherr is hitting and Joseph is starting to hit and things like that are looking up," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I think we're going to be fine."
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: With Hisashi Iwakuma headed to the disabled list, rookie right-hander Chase De Jong gets moved up a day to face the Blue Jays in Thursday's 4:07 p.m. PT series opener at Rogers Centre. The 23-year-old is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in four outings, including two starts since moving into Felix Hernandez's spot in the rotation.
Phillies: The Phillies open a three-city, nine-game road trip Friday night at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Nationals at Nationals Park. Rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta (0-2, 5.40 ERA) makes his third start of the season. He has allowed 18 hits, six runs, one walk and has struck out 11 in 10 innings.