Howard gives Phils 5-4 win vs D-Backs

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- After missing most of the season due to injury, Ryan Howard has struggled to find his timing and confidence.

Maybe a game-winning hit will give the Philadelphia slugger as jolt.

Howard singled home the winning run in the ninth to give the Philadelphia Phillies a 5-4 comeback victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

''It's just been a timing issue,'' said Howard, who is batting .208 in 23 games since being activated from the DL. ''I've been kind of in between, start too late, start too early. I've got to find the happy place.''

Howard batted with the bases loaded and one out after going five for his previous 35 with 20 strikeouts.

But the big lefty lined a pitch for Josh Collmenter to right field to score Juan Pierre and help Philadelphia win its eighth series in nine tries at home against Arizona since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.

''That's a big hit,'' Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. ''When he went up there, I said that the pitcher was the one in trouble.''

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon (3-4) entered in a tie game and pitched a scoreless ninth, stranding the go-ahead run on second.

Collmenter (3-3) was the fourth pitcher used by Arizona, which lost its second straight. Chris Johnson continued his hot streak with a homer for Arizona, which also got homers from Stephen Drew and Paul Goldschmidt.

''They outexecuted us when it counted,'' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ''They put pressure on us all day. It's frustrating but you just get over it and come back tomorrow.''

Chase Utley homered for the Phillies.

Utley said the game-winning RBI can help Howard find his groove.

''Anytime you get a big hit to win the game it's going to build your confidence,'' Utley said. ''Ryan is a going to be all right. He's a competitor and a hard worker. He'll be just fine.''

Manuel has been talking to Howard about keeping his balance better.

''If your weight leans forward just a little bit, you become an arm and hand hitter and don't use your backside,'' Manuel said. ''The backside is what drives the ball and gives you quick hands and a barrel that's quick with bat speed. If you miss, you might as well be way out there. There isn't that much of a difference.''

Trevor Cahill gave the Diamondbacks a strong start, allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings while striking out six and walking two. He left with Arizona up 4-3, but the Phillies tied it in the eighth when they scored off right-hander David Hernandez.

And Howard capped the Phillies' comeback in the ninth.

Pinch-hitter Pierre led off with a single to center, moved to second on Nate Schierholtz's sacrifice bunt and went to third on pinch-hitter Laynce Nix's single to right that went off the glove of a charging Justin Upton.

''I thought I had the ball when it hit the ground,'' Upton said. ''It just popped out.''

Collmenter intentionally walked Utley to load the bases with one out for Howard. The Phillies slugger missed most of the season with a left Achilles' injury and has struggled this season.

He was loudly booed after striking out in the eighth, his third of the game, but made up for it with a clean single to right to pull the Phillies out of last place in the NL East.

''It feels good,'' Howard said. ''I'll just try and build on it.''

Philadelphia starter Cliff Lee remained winless at home this season, getting no decision after giving up four runs on eight hits in eight innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Lee is 2-6 on the season and 0-4 with a 4.53 ERA in eight home starts this year.

''I have to do a better job of keeping the ball down and in the ballpark, especially when it's hot here because the ball travels really good,'' Lee said.

The Diamondbacks took a 3-0 lead in the second on homers by Johnson, a two-run shot to left, and Drew. Drew's homer to center just cleared the wall and the outstretched reach of center fielder John Mayberry Jr., who nearly lost his glove when his arm hit the top of the wall and deflected it off his hand.

Philadelphia got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the frame, with Mayberry scoring on Cahill's wild pitch and Kratz's RBI double. Kratz, who is filling in for injured starter Carlos Ruiz, entered 9 for 26 with four homers and three doubles and eight RBIs in 14 games coming in.

Ruiz is out four to six weeks with plantar fasciitis.

Utley tied it at 3 in the fifth with a solo homer to right, but Goldschmidt hit a leadoff homer in the sixth to put Arizona up 4-3. Goldschmidt is batting .462 (12-for-26) with three homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games.

The Phillies tied it with two outs in the eighth. With Mayberry on second after an infield single and wild pitch, Brown lined a ball off Hernandez. The ball ricocheted toward first base but Hernandez's flip to first hit Brown and got away from Goldschmidt at first. Mayberry raced home from third and just beat Goldschmidt's throw.

Johnson is batting .381 (8-for-21) with three homers and 10 RBIs in the six games since Arizona acquired him from Houston.

Notes: The Phillies held a moment of silence before the game for Garrett Reid, the son of Eagles coach Andy Reid who was found dead in his Lehigh dorm room on Sunday morning while assisting the team in training camp. . Arizona CF Chris Young moved into second place on the club's all-time games played list by playing in his 850th contest with the Diamondbacks. . Arizona opens a four-game series at Pittsburgh at 7:05 Monday, with Diamondbacks LHP Wade Miley (12-6, 2.98) scheduled to face Pirates LHP Erik Bedard (5-12, 4.83). Philadelphia opens three-game series at home Monday against Atlanta, with Phillies RHP Vance Worley (6-6, 3.63) scheduled to oppose Braves RHP Ben Sheets (3-1, 1.46).

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