Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts helped his team take a commanding 7-0 lead in the fourth inning against the Phillies on Saturday, clearing the bases and coming around to score on what should have been only a double, but turned out to be a Little League grand slam.
Bogaerts slashed an Alec Asher offering down the right field line. Right fielder Aaron Altherr corralled the ball and hit cutoff man Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez fired a weak throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz, bouncing off of him and into foul territory. Betts, at third base, used the opportunity to scamper home. Bogaerts was credited with a double and three RBI, advancing to third base on the relay throw home and scoring on Hernandez’s throwing error.
David Ortiz followed up with a solo home run, his 30th of the season and the 496th of his career.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz caught his fourth no-hitter on Saturday when Cole Hamels dominated the Cubs at Wrigley Field. That ties him with former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek for the major league record in no-hitters caught, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.
- May 29, 2010: Roy Halladay vs. Florida Marlins (1-0)
- October 6, 2010: Roy Halladay vs. Cincinnati Reds in NLDS Game 1 (4-0)
- September 1, 2014: Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Jonathan Papelbon vs. Atlanta Braves (7-0)
- July 25, 2015: Cole Hamels vs. Chicago Cubs (5-0)
Varitek caught Hideo Nomo against the Orioles in 2001, Derek Lowe against the Devil Rays in 2002, Clay Buchholz against the Orioles in 2007, and Jon Lester against the Royals in 2008.
Ruiz, 36, has drawn considerable praise for his ability to handle a pitching staff and call a game. He famously developed a strong bond with Halladay during their four years as teammates, as Halladay routinely praised Ruiz effusively. Halladay also made this hilarious commercial for the MLB 2K11 video game:
Ruiz has had a tough 2015 otherwise, however, putting together a .223/.312/.301 triple-slash line with two home runs and 16 RBI in 236 plate appearances. He also has not been as good defensively as he has been in the past.
Outfielder Jeff Francoeur has had a penchant for timely hitting for the Phillies in semi-regular playing time this season. He hit a grand slam off of Madison Bumgarner earlier this season and drilled an insurance three-run home run on Friday against the Marlins.
He offered more heroics on Sunday, helping the Phillies finish off a sweep the reeling Fish. He singled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh after entering as a defensive replacement, but the Phillies lost their lead, going into the bottom of the ninth down 7-6. With Carlos Ruiz on base, Francoeur crushed a walk-off two-run home run off of closer A.J. Ramos into the left-field stands, a no doubter.
Francoeur has emerged as a potential trade chip for the Phillies. Despite a meager .257 average and .288 on-base percentage, he’s slugging .449 with eight home runs in 198 plate appearances.
The Phillies announced this evening that they signed veteran catcher Erik Kratz to a minor league contract. He’s slated to report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Kratz previously played for the Phillies from 2011-2013 while batting .230 with 18 home runs and a .727 OPS over 120 games. The 35-year-old has received only sporadic playing time in the majors since, making stops with the Blue Jays and the Royals. He was recently given his release by the Mariners after appearing in 10 games with Triple-A Tacoma.
Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp are sharing catching duties with the Phillies right now, but Kratz could get an opportunity with the big club at some point during the second half.
MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom reports that Padres catcher Tim Federowicz will miss the next three to six months with a complete tear of the meniscus in his right knee. The initial diagnosis had been a small tear in his lateral meniscus, which would have required arthroscopic surgery.
The Padres had acquired the 27-year-old Federowicz along with outfielder Matt Kemp in the December trade that sent Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland, and pitching prospect Zach Eflin to the Dodgers.
With Federowicz out of the picture, veteran Wil Nieves will back up Derek Norris behind the plate. Nieves, 37, hit .254/.270/.344 with one home run and seven RBI in 128 plate appearances as Carlos Ruiz’s back-up in Philadelphia last season.