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Josh Bell keys Pirates’ rout of Cubs with three homers

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Pirates All-Star first baseman Josh Bell swatted a trio of homers and knocked in seven runs, helping his team rout the Cubs 18-5 on Monday night. The Buccos amassed 23 hits of which 12 went for extra bases. Four of those extra-base hits came in the form of Adam Frazier doubles.

Bell now has a .308/.381/.654 batting line with 25 home runs, 77 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 362 plate appearances just past the halfway point of the season. I just can’t help but think about that anonymous scout who, for some reason, decided to trash Bell when he was interviewed by Sports Illustrated in a season preview. Wonder what he’s up to these days.

Bell is the 10th player this season to enjoy a three-homer game. He joins Paul Goldschmidt, Gary Sánchez, Christian Yelich, Justin Turner, Kris Bryant, Derek Dietrich, Pedro Severino, Max Kepler, and Hunter Renfroe. Bell is the first Pirate to have a three-homer game since Andrew McCutchen on July 30, 2017 against the Padres. McCutchen actually had the Pirates’ most recent three three-homer games prior to Bell.

In case you were curious, there have been only four other four-double games dating back to 2010: Víctor Martínez (Red Sox) on June 1, 2010; Brock Holt (Red Sox) on June 1, 2014; David Peralta (Diamondbacks) on April 22, 2017; and Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) on August 26, 2018.

The Pirates racked up 45 total bases, the most they’ve had in a game since their 47 total bases on August 1, 1970 against the Braves. The Cubs surrendered 45 or more total bases in a game just one other time dating back to 1995 — May 28, 2006 against the Braves.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.