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St. Louis (51-42)000100000180
Philadelphia (50-43) «20100100x4101

Howard's two home runs support Moyer's first win in four weeks

CBSSports.com wire reports
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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.

Ryan Madson followed Moyer with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Manuel gave closer Brad Lidge the game off, leaving J.C. Romero to get two outs for his first save in five chances.

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.

Notes

  • The Phillies sent LHP J.A. Happ to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Happ started Wednesday night's game, but was not needed to pitch again before the All-Star break. The Phillies purchased the contract of INF Mike Cervenak from Lehigh Valley. Happ might not return after the break if the Phillies believe RHP Brett Myers is set to return to the rotation. Myers, their opening day starter, pitches for Double-A Reading on Saturday and likely will make at least more minor league start after that.
  • The Cardinals placed LHP Mark Mulder on the disabled list, one day after he left his comeback start after facing only three batters. They purchased the contract of LHP Jamie Garcia from Triple-A Memphis.
  • Gregg Dobbs' pinch single in the seventh gave him 18 already this season -- the most on the Phillies since Dave Philley had 18 in 1958.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Ryan Howard shows great form during his two-run blast in the first, one of two dingers he hits.  (AP)
Ryan Howard shows great form during his two-run blast in the first, one of two dingers he hits. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

R. Howard
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
Philadelphia

J. Moyer
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 2
K 4
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Kennedy, 2B4000003 .276
Ryan Ludwick, RF3000100 .283
Albert Pujols, 1B4020010 .348
Troy Glaus, 3B4110013 .256
Rick Ankiel, CF4010014 .262
Yadier Molina, C4011001 .303
Chris Duncan, LF2010211 .243
Braden Looper, P2010001 .343
   a- Joe Mather, PH1000001 .220
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
    Chris Perez, P0000000 .000
   b- Aaron Miles, PH1000002 .308
Brendan Ryan, SS4010003 .252
Totals3318134  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Looper in the 7th
b-flied out for Perez in the 9th
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Glaus-Kennedy-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (L,9-7) 6744122 4.25
Russ Springer 0.1200000 2.25
Ron Villone 0.2000010 5.03
Chris Perez 1100100 3.86
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
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4110001 .268
Shane Victorino, CF4020001 .268
Chase Utley, 2B4111002 .294
Ryan Howard, 1B4223013 .234
Pat Burrell, LF3000120 .279
    Eric Bruntlett, PR0000000 .232
    Jayson Werth, LF0000000 .271
Geoff Jenkins, RF4020000 .241
Pedro Feliz, 3B3010101 .266
Chris Coste, C4000004 .283
Jamie Moyer, P2000002 .138
   a- Greg Dobbs, PH1010000 .328
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
    J.C. Romero, P0000000 .000
Totals33410423  
a-singled for Moyer in the 7th
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Utley-Howard, Utley-Rollins-Howard, Rollins-Howard
E - Jimmy Rollins (5, Throwing)
Philadelphia Phillies
Jamie Moyer (W,8-6) 7711240 3.95
Ryan Madson (H,6) 1.1100100 2.83
J.C. Romero (S,1) 0.2000000 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
Game Information
Attendance - 44241
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Chuck Meriwether, Third Base - Marvin Hudson