PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Rowand's swinging bunt took three small hops until it trickled to a dead stop maybe 45 feet down the third-base line, the baseball's stitches kissing the chalk.
Both hits had the same result: crucial runs that led to a delirious victory for Philadelphia.
Howard's two-run home run off Guillermo Mota in the 10th inning won it after Rowand's dribbler in the eighth tied the score and helped the Phillies to a 4-2 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
"Every game down the stretch is a playoff-atmosphere type game, especially with the Mets in town," Howard said. "That's all you can ask for. You just want to get the feel for it."
The Phillies are back in the thick of the NL East race, trailing the division-leading Mets by four games after taking the first two of a pivotal four-game series.
"This is one of those games where everyone's like, 'Oh, this a great game,"' Howard said. "Somebody had to lose. Fortunately for us, we were on the other side of that."
Shane Victorino, who scored the tying run in the eighth on a pair of fortuitous plays, opened the 10th with a bloop single off Mota (1-1). Then Howard hit a 1-2 pitch deep the opposite way into the left-field seats for his 35th homer and a huge win.
Brett Myers (3-5) pitched two scoreless innings.
"We keep fighting until the last out," Myers said. "Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we've been doing it all year, even with the injuries we had."
For seven shutout innings, the Phillies were stymied by 300-game winner Tom Glavine. But not until Glavine left the game with a 2-0 lead -- on a two-run shot from Carlos Delgado -- would the highest-scoring offense in the NL wake up.
Taking a normal hack, Rowand hit a dribbler that hugged the line to score Victorino and tie the game.
Jayson Werth followed with a broken-bat single -- the splintered wood flew one way into the stands, Werth went the other down the line -- and beat the throw on the infield grounder. Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs walked to load the bases, but Chris Coste was retired to end the rally.
"It seemed like they didn't get the ball out of the infield and got some fortunate hits," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
Glavine struck out Werth in the second inning, ending the right fielder's streak of hits in nine straight at-bats. Werth fell one shy of the team record set in 1897 by Ed Delahanty.
Delgado gave the Mets a 2-0 lead with his two-run shot off Adam Eaton in the second. Delgado knocked a full-count pitch into the second deck for his 19th homer this season and No. 426 of his career, tying him with Billy Williams for 38th place on the career list.
"We've got to win at least one more, but the series hasn't started out like we wanted it to," Glavine said.
Making his first start since Aug. 11 because of a sore right shoulder, Eaton went 5 2-3 innings. He still hasn't won since July 20th and has pitched beyond the sixth inning only once in his last seven starts.
Eaton gave up five hits and lowered his 6.36 ERA -- the highest among starters in the majors - to 6.23.
- Mets RF Endy Chavez was activated from the DL and batted eighth. He went 0-for-4.
- RHP Brian Lawrence (1-2) was sent to Triple-A New Orleans to make room for Chavez.
- Glavine recorded his 2,557th career strikeout, putting him 26th on the career list.
- Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said injured LHP Cole Hamels looked good during a bullpen session on Tuesday and should be ready to pitch in this weekend's series, probably Sunday, at Florida.
- After Eaton hit Carlos Beltran with a pitch in the sixth, plate umpire Joe West warned both benches.
- The Phillies designated RHP John Ennis for assignment.