|St. Louis (51-42)||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||8||0|
|Philadelphia (50-43) «||2||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||x||4||10||1|
PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard knows two ways to take the focus off his anemic average.
Go deep. Drive in runs.
"I can't control what people look at," Howard said.
Howard homered twice, drove in three runs and continued to inch his batting average toward a more respectable level, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.
"He does about twice as much as other guys do," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Howard lined a two-run shot to left-center off Braden Looper (9-7) in the first and connected again in the sixth. He now leads the National League with 27 homers, two better than teammate Chase Utley, and 83 RBI.
"I've been staying on it and trying to hit it wherever it's pitched," Howard said.
Howard was batting in the .160s in early May, was at .215 coming into this month and was upset after hearing some mild boos from the finicky fans. But the former MVP is hitting .353 (18-for-51) with eight homers and 18 RBI over a 13-game hitting streak that's lifted his average to .234. He's heard nothing but wild cheers after every deep home run.
"There's been a lot of adversity," Howard said. "It's always a grind."
While he still leads the league in strikeouts, Manuel said he could live with all the whiffs as long as Howard produces runs and hits in big moments. He hit the tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 4-2 victory and set a team record for most RBI before the All-Star break.
"Find somebody that's produced more runs than him," Manuel said. "I think that's kind of hard to do. Who tops that? What's the name of the game? To produce runs."
Howard's homers were enough run support for 45-year-old Jamie Moyer (8-6), who won for the first time since June 12.
Moyer slumped in his last four starts, going 0-3 with a 4.13 ERA. But he struck out four in this one and was never in any real serious trouble over seven solid innings. Yadier Molina's RBI single in the fourth was the only run scored off the veteran left-hander.
Moyer knows two numbers are usually connected to him: his age, and the speed of his fastball. He hit the low 80s in this one, relying on his command and groundballs to bail him out of jams.
"The thing I can look at is that I'm still doing it," Moyer said. "I'm proud of that."
The NL East-leading Phillies staked Moyer to a 3-0 lead in the third on Utley's RBI double down the first-base line. Utley came close to tying Howard in the fifth for the home run lead, but his drive fell short on the warning track.
"We put a whopping four on them again," Manuel cracked. "That was enough though."
Looper allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.
"He made some good pitches and some that weren't so good," manager Tony La Russa said.
|Ryan Howard shows great form during his two-run blast in the first, one of two dingers he hits. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Adam Kennedy, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.276|
|Ryan Ludwick, RF||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.283|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.348|
|Troy Glaus, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.256|
|Rick Ankiel, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||4||.262|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.303|
|Chris Duncan, LF||2||0||1||0||2||1||1||.243|
|Braden Looper, P||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||.343|
|a- Joe Mather, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.220|
|Russ Springer, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ron Villone, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chris Perez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Aaron Miles, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.308|
|Brendan Ryan, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.252|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Looper in the 7th|
|b-flied out for Perez in the 9th|
|2B - Troy Glaus (21, Moyer)|
|RBI - Yadier Molina (28)|
|2-OUT RBI - Yadier Molina (17)|
|SB - Rick Ankiel (2, 2nd base off Madson/Coste)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Glaus-Kennedy-Pujols|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Braden Looper (L,9-7)||6||7||4||4||1||2||2||4.25|
|Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 112-72, Russ Springer 16-11, Ron Villone 6-8, Chris Perez 15-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 11-5, Ron Villone 1-0, Chris Perez 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Braden Looper 26, Russ Springer 3, Ron Villone 2, Chris Perez 4|
|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.268|
|Shane Victorino, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.268|
|Chase Utley, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.294|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||4||2||2||3||0||1||3||.234|
|Pat Burrell, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.279|
|Eric Bruntlett, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.232|
|Jayson Werth, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.271|
|Geoff Jenkins, RF||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.241|
|Pedro Feliz, 3B||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.266|
|Chris Coste, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.283|
|Jamie Moyer, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.138|
|a- Greg Dobbs, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.328|
|Ryan Madson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|J.C. Romero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Moyer in the 7th|
|2B - Jimmy Rollins (19, Looper), Chase Utley (25, Looper)|
|HR - Ryan Howard 2 (27, Looper, Looper)|
|RBI - Chase Utley (69), Ryan Howard 3 (83)|
|2-OUT RBI - Chase Utley (19), Ryan Howard 2 (34)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Utley-Howard, Utley-Rollins-Howard, Rollins-Howard|
|E - Jimmy Rollins (5, Throwing)|
|Jamie Moyer (W,8-6)||7||7||1||1||2||4||0||3.95|
|Ryan Madson (H,6)||1.1||1||0||0||1||0||0||2.83|
|J.C. Romero (S,1)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.25|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jamie Moyer 102-59, Ryan Madson 23-14, J.C. Romero 10-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jamie Moyer 10-5, Ryan Madson 2-2|
|Batters Faced - Jamie Moyer 28, Ryan Madson 6, J.C. Romero 2|
|Attendance - 44241|
|Game Time - 2:53|
|Temperature - 81|
|Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Marvin Hudson|