5/31/2014 2:02 A.M. ET
Ruiz makes time for special Phillies fan
By Austin Laymance, Todd Zolecki and Erik Bacharach / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Aiden Riebel and his brother Max arrived at Citizens Bank Park before Friday night's Phillies-Mets game wearing matching autographed Carlos Ruiz jerseys.
Moments after stepping onto the field to watch batting practice, Aiden locked eyes with his hero. Without hesitation, Ruiz ran over, hopped the divider, and embraced his biggest fan.
"When he was hugging Carlos, I teared up," Aiden's mother, Christine Stier Ludwig, said. "There are no words that can express it. As a parent, it's just beautiful to see. He's just trying to do something new every day. It's hard for him. He's home-schooled. So him getting out like this is awesome."
Aiden is battling Stage 4 cancer, his second bout with cancer. "Chooch," who was also a hero this weekend when he financed the search teams that rescued his hometown friends who were lost at sea in Panama, is the 6-year-old's inspiration.
"He's my favorite player," Aiden said.
This isn't the first time the two have met up. Back in November, Aiden was surprised by Chooch at the Washington Township Fire Department, where Aiden was also sworn in as an honorary fireman for the night. Ruiz was adamant about following up November's meet-up.
"To me, it mean's a lot," Ruiz said. "I have two kids of my own and try to give back to kids, try to make them feel better. So it means a lot. For me, it was really special. It was emotional."
"He's a special kid," Stier Ludwig said. "With everything that he goes through and all the medicine he has to take all the time. His chemotherapy that he goes through. A week out of every month, he literally gets 14 injections in his thighs. He's just a special kid."
On the way over to Citizens Bank Park, Aiden's family surprised him with the news.
"That's when we broke it to him. And you should have seen his face," Aiden's uncle, Scott Stier, said. "That's when they got really excited. We told them, 'You gotta still be cool. You gotta be mellow.'"
Somehow, Aiden managed to keep his cool, and discussed his T-ball career with Ruiz before the Phillies catcher autographed a bat and ball for him and Max.
"I would rate [the experience] as a 10," Max said. "Maybe 11.99. Or a million."
"It was so much fun," Aiden said.
Brignac steps in as Hernandez gets day off
PHILADELPHIA -- Cesar Hernandez needed a break and Reid Brignac needed an opportunity to play, so both got what they required Friday.
As luck would have it, Brignac played a huge role in Friday night's 6-5 victory over the Mets as the infielder knocked the walk-off single to win it in the 14th.
"Everybody was yelling at everybody to end it," Brignac said of the talk in the dugout before his at-bat. "It was like, 'Come on, let's go. Hurry up.' "
Hernandez struggled at third base in Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. He committed one physical error and one mental error, which led to a run in the fifth inning. Hernandez started playing third base this year.
Brignac, meanwhile, had just six plate appearances since joining the team May 9.
"A little break from the action for Cesar," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's having a chance to get some looks over there, get some plays. I think he's the type of player that will learn from mistakes. Just being aware of the baserunners, who's on first, who's on second, foot speed, some of that just comes from experience."
It does not sound like a promotion for the Phillies' No. 1 Triple-A prospect Maikel Franco is near, although general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said earlier this week it is a possibility.
"Not as we speak," Sandberg said, asked if Franco's arrival could be imminent.
Perhaps another Triple-A prospect could be closer. Right-hander Ken Giles has been throwing the ball well.
"Giles has had a string of good outings and he's gone back-to-back days," Sandberg said. "He's showing good signs of adjusting, improvement and consistency with the strike zone. He seems to be doing well."
Hollands proving to be breakout hurler in 'pen
PHILADELPHIA -- Mario Hollands tried not to put too much pressure on himself coming into his rookie season, and the left-hander has proven to be a bright spot in the Phillies bullpen.
"I really had no expectations because it was all new in the beginning, so it was just like riding a bike for the first time," said Hollands, who has worked seven consecutive scoreless outings entering Friday's game against the Mets. "I just live in the moment, day by day, don't look too far ahead."
That mentality has benefited Hollands two months into his Major League career. His debut came in a tough spot, starting the ninth inning of a tie game in Texas on April 1. Hollands faced three batters, walking two and taking the loss. He rebounded with a stretch of six scoreless innings.
"Some nights, you might have a bad outing and you have to forget about it, like my first game," he said. "I haven't thought about it since, unless someone brings it up."
Hollands recorded four outs Thursday against the Mets, including three via strikeouts. He's limiting left-handed batters to a .136 average over 18 innings. The lefty has been even better at Citizens Bank Park, where nine of has 10 appearances have been scoreless and opponents are batting .139.
"I'd much rather see the team do better and win more games than my personal success, but it's been fun so far," Hollands said. "It hasn't been as much of a roller coaster as I thought it was going to be. I mean there's times when it has been, but it hasn't been too bad."
Hollands hasn't been too bad out of the 'pen either, and that's good news for the Phillies.
• Jimmy Rollins entered Friday hitting .111 (3-for-27) in his last seven games.
"He's going to need a day off coming up here," Sandberg said. "Him and Chase [Utley]. We'll see if I can pick a spot. But you know what? He's battling his at-bats. He's had some good at-bats. For me, he's just in a little [slump] right now as far as just not getting credited for some hits. His energy is good and he's doing fine."
• The Phillies struck out 15 times and did not walk once Thursday. Elias Sports Bureau said it was the fourth time in Mets history they recorded 15 or more strikeouts in a game without issuing a walk. The first three games were 16-strikeout complete games: Dwight Gooden in consecutive starts (Sept. 12, 1984, vs. the Pirates, and Sept. 17 vs. the Phillies) and Sid Fernandez (July 14, 1989, vs. the Braves).
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance.Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.