Howard homers again as Phillies defeat Marlins

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Howard is beginning to awaken. So too are the Philadelphia Phillies.
Howard went 2-for-3 with his second home run in as many days Friday, as the Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 4-1.
Domonic Brown also homered for the second straight day and Chase Utley went deep as well for the Phillies, who won for the fifth time in seven games. It was also Philadelphia's fifth straight home victory over Miami, and its 18th in the last 24 games at Citizens Bank Park.
Utley now has six homers this season, while Howard and Brown have five apiece.
Four of Howard's homers have come in his last nine games, as have 12 of his 18 RBIs. He is also hitting .342 in his last 19 games, raising his average to .288.
"I've been going up there swinging - laying off the bad stuff and making them bring it up a little bit," Howard said.
It has helped that the Phillies now have their full team, with the return of catcher Carlos Ruiz and outfielder Delmon Young - Ruiz from a suspension for using a banned stimulant, Young from ankle surgery. That has given the team two badly needed right-handed bats.
"We're definitely a different team," Howard said. "Guys are going to get hot. We haven't played near our capabilities. I think we're starting to work that way."
About the only thing that went wrong for Howard on Friday was his decision to try to stretch his third-inning double into a triple. He was thrown out easily at third base.
"There was a flat tire somewhere," he said, smiling. "Just completely broke down. They could have made a bad relay. It still wouldn't have been too good."
Rookie right-hander Jonathan Pettibone (2-0) went 6 1/3 innings for the victory, allowing five hits and one run. Pettibone struck out three and did not walk a batter.
Reliever Antonio Bastardo issued two walks to load the bases with one out in the seventh, but struck out pinch hitters Austin Kearns and Matt Diaz to escape trouble.

Mike Adams pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save in as many opportunities.
Ricky Nolasco (2-3), who had won his five previous starts in Philadelphia, took the loss. He allowed eight hits and four runs over seven innings, while striking out four and walking one.
"He gave us a chance," manager Mike Redmond said. "We've got to do a better job putting some runs on them. It's hard for our pitchers when we're scoring one run a night. We've got to find some way to put some crooked numbers on the board."
Donovan Solano hit his first homer of the season for Miami, which is now 8-22. The Marlins began the day tied with Houston for the worst record in baseball.
Howard ripped a 2-0 fastball from Nolasco for a leadoff homer in the second, and later in the inning Ben Revere singled home Carlos Ruiz to make the score 2-0.
Utley's homer came on the first pitch of the third inning, another fastball. After Solano homered in the top of the fourth, Brown made the score 4-1 when he launched a 3-2 slider into the right-field seats to start the bottom of the inning.
NOTES: Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay told reporters before the game that MLB Network commentator Mitch Williams, a former Phillies closer, was "completely out of line" in criticizing pitching coach Rich Dubee. Williams had said during a radio interview earlier in the day that Dubee should have recognized flaws in Halladay's delivery, and went so far as to suggest Dubee should be fired. ... The Phillies named Cesar Hernandez, a second baseman at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the organization's Minor League Player of the Month, and Jesse Biddle, a lefty at Double-A Reading, the Minor League Pitcher of the Month. Biddle, the team's top prospect, went 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in five starts, while Hernandez hit .375. ... Solano entered Friday's game having hit .310 since April 17, highest batting average among National League second basemen. ... Utley's homer was the 205th of his career, moving him one ahead of Dick Allen and into sole possession of eighth place on the Phillies' all-time list. ... It was also the second time this season Howard and Utley have homered in the same game, and the 49th time in their careers they have done that.

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