Howard homered in his first three at-bats, raising his major league-leading total to 52, and the Phillies rallied after wasting a five-run lead to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-7 in Sunday's doubleheader opener.
Howard's 50th home run was a solo shot in the second inning, and he followed with a two-run drive in the third. His third homer was an opposite-field, solo shot to left in the sixth that made it 6-1. He leads the major leagues with 133 RBI.
Each homer, all off Tim Hudson, was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of "M-V-P!" as Howard rounded the bases.
"That last homer he hit I thought was his most impressive one," Hudson said. "It was a four-seamer up and away. It was off the plate away. This is a great park for him, too. It will definitely bring confidence to him as hitter."
The reigning NL Rookie of the Year became the 23rd player to hit 50 homers. He broke the previous mark for second-year players, set when Ralph Kiner's hit 51 for Pittsburgh in 1947.
A fan jumped over the dugout onto the field and bowed at Howard before his fourth at-bat, in the eighth. Howard lined a single against reliever Macay McBride for his second career four-hit game.
"I thought it was hilarious," Howard said of his trespassing fan. "I looked over and the guy was down on the ground. The whole thing was kind of funny."
Howard broke Mike Schmidt's Philadelphia season record when he hit his 49th against Washington on Thursday night. He also has a 13-game hitting streak and his 132 RBI are the most by a Phillie since 1932.
"What can you say? It's unreal," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's a credit to him and his hard work."
Albert Pujols of St. Louis homered in his first three at-bats during a 6-3 win over Pittsburgh. It was the first time two players homered three times on the same day since Pujols and Cleveland's Travis Hafner did it on July 20, 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It was the first time a pair did it in the first three plate appearances since Cincinnati's Johnny Bench and Atlanta's Orlando Cepeda -- a pair of Hall of Famers -- on July 26, 1970.
With a 6-3 lead in the ninth, Fabio Castro allowed a three-run, opposite-field homer to right by Matt Diaz. But Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino hit RBI singles off Bob Wickman (0-1) in the bottom half.
"A wild finish, but the thing is we won the game," Manuel said.
Geoff Geary (7-0) recorded two outs in the ninth. The Phillies, who lost the nightcap 3-1 in 11 innings, dropped to 1½ games back of San Diego, the NL wild-card leader while the Braves fell five games behind the Padres.
Jamie Moyer allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings in his home debut for the Phillies. Moyer, a Pennsylvania native, made the school's hall of fame at nearby Saint Joseph's.
Hudson gave up six runs and six hits in seven innings.
"Today was a tough one, very disappointing," Hudson said.
Moyer allowed Edgar Renteria's solo homer in the first but settled down against a lineup missing third baseman Chipper Jones and second baseman Marcus Giles. Jones was a late scratch with a sore oblique muscle on his left side. He did play in the second game, but Cox said Jones probably won't play in the three-game series in New York.
Giles returned to Atlanta for medical tests. He missed Saturday's doubleheader and visited a Philadelphia hospital, where he said he was told he may have a heart defect.
With the score 1-1 in the third, Rollins hit a go-ahead triple and scored on Victorino's single. Todd Pratt hit a two-run homer for the Braves in the eighth.
|Ryan Howard tips his cap after home run No. 50. The slugger adds two more blasts to reach 52. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Martin Prado, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||0||0|
|a- Daryle Ward, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Pete Orr, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||4||1||1||1||0||0||2|
|Willy Aybar, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Andruw Jones, CF||3||1||1||0||1||1||0|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||4||1||2||0||0||0||1|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||0||0||1||1||1||1|
|Matt Diaz, LF||4||2||2||3||0||0||1|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Todd Pratt, C||3||1||1||2||1||1||1|
|Tony Pena, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Bob Wickman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tim Hudson, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|b- Brayan Pena, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Macay McBride, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Peter Moylan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|c- Brian McCann, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|a-grounded out for Prado in the 9th|
|b-grounded out for Hudson in the 8th|
|c-flied out for Moylan in the 9th|
|HR - Edgar Renteria (, Moyer), Matt Diaz (, Castro), Todd Pratt (, Moyer)|
|RBI - Edgar Renteria (), Adam LaRoche (), Matt Diaz 3 (), Todd Pratt 2 ()|
|Team LOB - 3|
|Bob Wickman (BS,; L,-)||0.1||3||2||2||1||0||0|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 101-65, Macay McBride 11-7, Peter Moylan 5-3, Bob Wickman 12-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 12-5, Macay McBride 2-0, Bob Wickman 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 29, Macay McBride 3, Peter Moylan 1, Bob Wickman 5|
|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||1||2||2||1||0||0|
|Shane Victorino, CF||5||1||2||2||0||1||1|
|Chase Utley, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||4||3||4||4||0||0||0|
|Jeff Conine, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|David Dellucci, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|a- Pat Burrell, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|Chris Roberson, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chris Coste, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||0|
|Joe Thurston, PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Abraham Nunez, 3B||2||1||0||0||1||1||1|
|Jamie Moyer, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Ryan Madson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Fabio Castro, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Geoff Geary, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|b- Randall Simon, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Carlos Ruiz, PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|a-struck out for Dellucci in the 8th|
|b-walked for Geary in the 9th|
|3B - Jimmy Rollins (, Hudson)|
|HR - Ryan Howard 3 (, Hudson, Hudson, Hudson)|
|SH - Abraham Nunez (), Jamie Moyer ()|
|RBI - Jimmy Rollins 2 (), Shane Victorino 2 (), Ryan Howard 4 ()|
|2-OUT RBI - Ryan Howard 2 ()|
|SB - Jimmy Rollins (, 2nd base off Hudson/Pratt)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Outfield Assists - Shane Victorino 1|
|DP - Rollins-Utley-Howard, Victorino-Howard, Utley-Rollins-Howard|
|Ryan Madson (H,)||0.2||3||3||3||0||0||0|
|Fabio Castro (BS,)||0.1||1||1||1||1||0||1|
|Geoff Geary (W,-)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jamie Moyer 103-60, Ryan Madson 15-9, Fabio Castro 15-10, Geoff Geary 8-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jamie Moyer 12-5, Ryan Madson 1-0, Fabio Castro 1-0, Geoff Geary 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jamie Moyer 28, Ryan Madson 4, Fabio Castro 3, Geoff Geary 2|
|Attendance - 0|
|Game Time - 2:44|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Larry Young, Third Base - Tom Hallion|