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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Bobby Abreu’s on-base percentage makes him an ideal candidate to bat leadoff. His slugging percentage keeps him in the middle of the lineup.
“I’m starting to feel better at the plate,” Abreu said. “I’m seeing the ball better and hitting it the other way.”
Lidle (4-4) gave up three runs and five hits. Lenny DiNardo (1-2) couldn’t get past the third inning in his fifth start.
Abreu made it 8-3 in the sixth inning with a three-run drive to straightaway center off Abe Alvarez. Before he connected, Abreu had just 10 homers in 115 games since his record-setting performance in the Home Run Derby during All-Star week last season. He hit 41 homers in the contest, including 24 in the first round, but lost his long-ball stroke in the process.
Though he hasn’t been hitting homers, Abreu has found ways to get on base. He leads the Phillies with a .458 on-base percentage and many have wondered why manager Charlie Manuel doesn’t put Abreu first in the order instead of Jimmy Rollins, who has a .311 on-base percentage.
Manuel insists he likes Abreu in the No. 3 hole, even though Chase Utley would be ideal in that spot. Utley, who bats second, is hitting .309 with nine homers and 29 RBIs. For years, Abreu has said he prefers to bat third.
“Today was a great day to stop the people talking about that,” Abreu said.
DiNardo walked Rollins leading off the third inning and then completely fell apart. Utley dropped a perfect bunt single, and Abreu tripled in two runs with a liner to right-center.
“I couldn’t get the pitches down when I wanted,” DiNardo said. “I have to figure out why and make adjustments.”
Howard hit his 14th homer, an opposite-field shot to left off Alvarez in the fifth that gave the Phillies a 5-2 lead.
Needing a double for the cycle, Abreu walked on five pitches against Rudy Seanez in the seventh. He finished 3-for-3 with two walks.
“When Abreu is hitting in the middle of the lineup, that really produces some runs for us,” Manuel said.
DiNardo allowed four runs and seven hits in two innings, his shortest outing of the season.
Pinch-hitter David Dellucci had an RBI triple and Rollins added a run-scoring single in the seventh inning for Philadelphia.
The Red Sox went up 1-0 in the third inning on an RBI single by Trot Nixon with two outs. Youkilis hit a solo homer in the fifth and Lowell had one in the sixth that cut the deficit to 5-3.
“He varied his pitches and kept us off-balance,” Youkilis said of Lidle. “He was hitting his spots.”
The Phillies are 74-90 in interleague play, while the Red Sox are 79-81 against NL teams. … Boston leads the all-time series 15-13. The Red Sox had won six in a row against Philadelphia. … The Phillies had lost six straight interleague games. … DiNardo hasn’t lasted more than five innings in any of his starts. … Lowell has 24 homers against the Phillies, 11 more than he’s hit against any other team.