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Phillies break out of offensive funk vs. Astros

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Coming into Saturday's game against an Astros split squad, the Phillies were batting .189 as a team. So an 11-3 win at Bright House Field was welcome for more reasons than one.

"That goes a long way to loosening everybody up," said manager Ryne Sandberg. "It all started with [third baseman Cody] Asche. Good swings in three good at-bats. So that was good."

Asche, who was leading off for the first time and had a double and a three-run homer, came into the game batting .067.

"I just wanted to give him maybe a little different mindset. Leadoff hitter. Quality at-bats. Get on base," Sandberg said. "I thought he hit the ball well [lining out] to left-center in his first at-bat. A little shakeup just to change the mindset a little bit."

Catcher Carlos Ruiz raised his Grapefruit League average to .385 with a single and a home run.

"He was a big guy over the offseason to bring back [when he became a free agent], not only for what he does behind the plate but his right-handed bat," Sandberg said.

"He was behind last year until the last four or five weeks [after sitting out a 25-game suspension]. I just see with the early power and his batting practice and being in shape, that goes a long way. He's a guy who could possibly bat fourth or fifth. He's that type of hitter. When he's going right, he's a big bat in the lineup."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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