Ruf homers, Morgan solid as Phils top Bucs

Ruf homers, Morgan solid as Phils top Bucs

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Darin Ruf and Cesar Hernandez picked up big hits for the Phillies against Pirates left-hander Jonathan Niese in Tuesday's 4-2 victory at Bright House Field.

Ruf blasted a two-run homer in the first inning and Hernandez knocked a two-run triple in the second.

Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan, who is competing for a job in the rotation, pitched three scoreless frames, walking one batter and allowing a hit to Niese.

"The competition in here is just making everybody else better," Morgan said. "So for them to go out and throw three innings scoreless, that's awesome for them. We're here to make the Phillies better, so you can't really root against a guy like that, because we're playing for the same team.

"You can't play GM, though. That's one thing I've learned. Once you think you've got it figured out, they throw you a curveball and you never know what's going to happen."

Niese gave up four runs on two hits with two walks in three innings. He has permitted eight runs over five innings in two Grapefruit League starts.

"I fought through it," Niese said. "Right now, I'm not really worried about the results. I'm just worried about the process, getting the volume. It'll come. The results will be there."

Hernandez's two-run triple

Cole Figueroa and prospect Harold Ramirez produced back-to-back RBI singles off Chris Leroux in the seventh to break up the shutout. 

Figueroa's RBI single

"I like the looks I've seen him take at the plate with the ball," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Ramirez. "I've seen the numbers grow, the progression. ... He wants to hit, and [he] goes up there with bad intentions."

Up next for the Pirates: Ryan Vogelsong will take the bump at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Red Sox in Bradenton, Fla. The game can be watched live on MLB.TV. Vogelsong turned in a strong start last time out, pitching two no-hit innings with a pair of strikeouts against the Blue Jays.

Up next for the Phillies: The Phillies have a split squad Wednesday, hosting the Orioles and traveling to Ft. Myers, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Twins. Jeremy Hellickson starts in Clearwater, Fla., in a 1:05 p.m. ET game that can be watched live on MLB.TV, while prospect Zach Eflin starts in Ft. Myers.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.