4/26/2014 1:41 A.M. ET
Asche a 'better' player for time on bench
By Jose Romero / Special to MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Cody Asche is still trying to find his hitting stroke, with a .192 average going into Friday's game. The young third baseman came off the bench for the first three games in Los Angeles before returning to the starting lineup on Thursday, and Friday at Arizona.
"Part of this game that's so tough is the mental part," Asche said. "It's a learning process. Growing up as a baseball player, you've got to learn how to handle those things. When they do come your way, you've got to find the positives in the situation. I got a chance to work and help the team coming off the bench. I'm a better baseball player because of it, regardless of what happens in the next five games, 10 games, five years."
Asche doesn't put much stock in his previous numbers at Chase Field, 5-for-11 in three games. He said coming off the bench requires paying close attention to the game from the middle innings on and going over the pinch-hitting and defensive situations in his mind.
"It's getting there," he said of his hitting.
Asche led off the ninth inning in Los Angeles on Thursday with a single and came around to score to break a 3-3 tie in the Phillies' four-run rally.
"He made an excellent defensive play at third base. Played a big part in getting the W," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It's a game that could really get him going, I think."
Adams feels fine after longest outing in four years
PHOENIX -- Phillies right-hander Mike Adams hadn't pitched two innings in relief since June 6, 2010 against Philadelphia when he was with the San Diego Padres.
But Adams went two innings on Thursday night in Los Angeles and got the victory, even though he allowed a game-tying home run. He struck out three and has looked strong despite making his season debut on April 18 after completing his right shoulder surgery rehabilitation.
"I feel fine. I was able to keep my pitch count down," Adams said. "I've found a routine that's working for me right now and I'm just trying to stick to the plan."
Adams said pitch count aside, he was needed for another inning so he worked the eighth against the Dodgers and shut them down.
"Really impressed with his command and his quality of pitches and he's down in the zone. Looks real tough on right-handed pitchers for sure," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Adams. "Threw some good sliders right out of the bullpen. Real effective with that, but he's throwing strikes, he's ahead of the hitters and from what I've seen, some hitters have had a hard time picking him up."
Sandberg attributed that to the "herky-jerky" nature of Adams' delivery and how he hides the ball, along with good pitch location.
Adams being in a groove isn't a good sign for National League West opponents. Adams, who Sandberg said was available out of the bullpen Friday despite his long outing, entered the Arizona series with a 1.27 career ERA against the division. It's the lowest ERA of any pitcher in Major League history against the NL West, with a minimum of 110 innings pitched.
NL West batters were hitting just .163 against Adams in his career going into Friday's game.
"It's always been fun pitching on the West Coast," Adams said. "The weather's a lot different. You don't tire out as easily. Other than here [Chase Field] and Colorado, the air is not so thin and there's bigger ballparks."
Ruiz swinging hot bat for Phillies
PHOENIX -- Carlos Ruiz arrived in Los Angeles with a .204 batting average, no home runs and no runs batted in this season. The Phillies catcher had an on-base percentage of .328.
But after going 7-for-14 at Dodger Stadium in the four-game series, Ruiz arrived at Chase Field on Friday batting .270 with six RBIs, a home run and a .395 OBP.
"Things can change fast at any moment," Ruiz said in Spanish. "We were just looking to win the series and I hope it continues for me."
Being at Chase Field bodes well for Ruiz to continue his hitting success. He entered Friday's game with a .363 average against the Diamondbacks, batting .309 with a home run and six RBIs in 20 career games at Chase Field.
"That's the goal of the team and the individual player," Ruiz said, "to continue to play with the same intensity and put forth as much effort as possible. That's how teams win day to day and I hope to continue doing that."
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said it was just a matter of time before Ruiz would produce. Ruiz has batted second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh this season and hit seventh for Philadelphia on Friday night.
"He can handle the bat, he uses the whole field. In a lot of ways he's a situational type of hitter," Sandberg said. "He goes to right field very well and hits behind runners. He can drive in runs. He's a versatile hitter and it's nice to have him."
• At some point before Friday night's game, Phillies pitcher A.J. Burnett stole away to the concourse of Chase Field to get his face painted like a zombie on Zombie Night. The Phillies tweeted out a photo of Burnett being touched up by a makeup artist. "He had a little fun with it," teammate Marlon Byrd said. "You've got to enjoy this game."
Jose Romero is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.