Phils' power backs prospect's strong start

Howard, Ruf homer back-to-back; Severino tosses three scoreless frames

Phils' power backs prospect's strong start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf damaged Mike Foltynewicz's rotation bid with back-to-back third-inning home runs, and Brian Bogusevic delivered a decisive eighth-inning sacrifice fly for the Phillies in Tuesday afternoon's 5-3 win over the Braves at Champion Stadium.

Howard's third home run of the Grapefruit League season highlighted the Phillies' offensive charge, after they struck first with Bogusevic's second-inning RBI single. The Braves remained scoreless until Andrelton Simmons highlighted a game-tying, three-run seventh with a two-run homer off Paul Clemens.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Andrelton extends torrid spring: Simmons' line-drive homer over the left-field wall accounted for one of Atlanta's few offensive highlights. The Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop has batted .467 (14-for-30) with two homers and 12 RBIs through 10 Grapefruit League games.

Simmons' two-run homer

Gonzalez fares well in debut: Phillies pitching prospect Severino Gonzalez allowed four hits and struck out two in three scoreless innings. He got the start because Aaron Harang remained in Clearwater, Fla, where he threw in a Minor League game. Gonzalez is the organization's No. 15 prospect, according to MLB.com.

Folty falters: After reigniting his rotation bid with last week's strong start against the Yankees, Foltynewicz showed his youth, as he allowed the Phillies three earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings. He issued consecutive two-out walks, including one to Gonzalez, in the second inning, and then admittedly allowed his emotions to get the best of him as he allowed the homers in the third inning.

Foltynewicz escapes the jam

"I just kind of started getting fast there in that last inning, and things started going downhill from there," he said. "Other than that, I went out there and battled the best I can. Unfortunately, things didn't go the way I wanted."

Ruf heats up: It looks like Ruf is getting on track offensively. He went 3-for-5 with one double, one home run and one RBI against the Braves. He has homered twice in the past six games and remains in line for one of the Phillies' five bench jobs.

Ruf's back-to-back homer

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

• The 12 RBIs Simmons has compiled through his first 10 games this year match the total he compiled over the 46 Spring Training games he played the previous three years.

MEDICAL NEWS

Nick Markakis went hitless in three at-bats and played right field for the Braves through the first six innings. This marked the first time he played in the field since undergoing neck surgery in December.

Markakis on first spring at-bats

• Phillies right fielder Domonic Brown is not sure if he will be ready for Opening Day. He has been sidelined since Thursday because of tendinitis in his left Achilles. He said he hopes to begin running in the next couple of days.

• Phillies right-hander Chad Billingsley is scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. The Phillies are hoping Billingsley, who is recovering from a pair of elbow surgeries, will be ready to join the rotation in late April.

• Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt walked off the field following Howard's homer. Play had been briefly halted earlier in the inning when it appeared Wendelstedt was having trouble keeping his balance while standing near first base.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Phillies host the Astros on Wednesday afternoon at Bright House Field at 1:05 p.m. ET. It is another important start for right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who is competing for a job in the Phillies' rotation. Gonzalez's performance this spring has been uneven at best, but a solid outing Wednesday could put him in good position to make the team. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.