Then they tried pitching to him, and that didn’t work, either.
Howard drove in four runs with four hits, including his 18th homer, and his teammates foiled the intentional-walk strategy to help the Philadelphia Phillies win 14-2 Tuesday night.
Florida manager Jack McKeon ordered Howard walked to load the bases with the game scoreless in the third inning.
“I was a little bit surprised in that situation with a runner on first,” Howard said.
The next four Phillies singled, and when the inning ended, they were up 5-0.
“You saw what happened when I let him pitch to him,” McKeon said. “I didn’t want to see him do that in a 0-0 game.”
Howard has eight homers and a .500 average in 26 career at-bats against Volstad.
“If I knew the answers, I’d be making adjustments,” Volstad said.
Raul Ibanez(notes) hit his 10th homer and drove in four runs for the Phillies, who achieved season highs in runs and hits (18). While they have baseball’s best record, their offense has sputtered at times, and they came into the game ranked 11th in the NL in hitting.
“We jumped our team batting average some, didn’t we?” manager Charlie Manuel said. “Did we get over .250?”
The Phils’ average climbed from .245 to .247.
“We’ve had a lot of people talking about the offense, but we have our outbursts,” Howard said. “It’s good to know it’s there.”
Ibanez and Wilson Valdez(notes) each had a two-run single in the third inning. Jimmy Rollins(notes) had four hits and scored three times, and Michael Martinez’s(notes) bases-loaded triple hiked his average to .189.
Howard had a run-scoring infield single in the sixth and an RBI double in the ninth. He also singled in the eighth when the umpires reversed their original call and ruled his looping liner had been trapped in left field by a diving Logan Morrison(notes).
The Phillies capped their big night with a six-run ninth, mustering plenty of offense even without All-Star third baseman Placido Polanco(notes) and center fielder Shane Victorino(notes). Polanco sat out because of a sore back that has been bothering him in recent weeks, and Victorino has been out since Sunday with a sprained right thumb that will sideline him for at least one more game and perhaps longer.
The Phils are assured of winning their fifth series in a row. They won for the 21st time in 25 games at Miami since September 2008.
Hamels, who won for the first time in four starts, had mixed feelings about all of the offensive support.
“Getting that many runs, it’s nice,” he said. “But at the same time, it kind of breaks up your rhythm. It felt like the game was in slow motion. In between innings, it was really long.”
The start was Hamels’ first since the left-hander came out of a game Thursday after taking a line drive off his right palm. He said his hand bothered him only swinging the bat.
“But I didn’t take too many swings,” he said with a laugh.
The Phillies had runners at first and third with one out in the third when McKeon ordered Howard walked. Volstad then gave up four singles in a span of seven pitches, starting with Ibanez’s two-run single.
“For him to come out after they walk me and get the hit, that’s huge,” Howard said. “That’s a big pickup for the whole team.”
Ibanez improved to .480 against Volstad, and Ruiz climbed to .450. Volstad gave up seven runs in four innings, and he fell to 2-5 with an ERA of 5.88 in 12 games against the Phillies.
“They just see me really well,” the right-hander said. “I don’t know what else to say.”
Notes: The Phillies recalled OF John Mayberry(notes) Jr. from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and he entered in the seventh inning. … Marlins RHP Clay Hensley(notes) (right shoulder sprain) is being groomed for a spot in the rotation when he returns from the disabled list. Hensley has 40 career starts, but none since 2008. … LHP Brad Hand(notes) will start for the Marlins on Thursday against Houston. … Miami Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas threw out the first pitch.