|Philadelphia (66-49) «||0||1||0||0||0||3||0||0||0||4||7||0|
"He's not a rookie any more," Howard said. "He's proven himself to be a very poised pitcher."
Philadelphia, which has won five of six, dropped the third-place Braves six games back in the National League East and left Atlanta in a fourth-place tie with Chicago in the NL wild-card race.
After his solo shot made it 1-0 in the second, Howard put the Phillies up 4-1 with his 30th home run in the sixth off Javier Vazquez (10-8).
"I'm just trying to see the ball," said Howard, who has driven in a run for seven consecutive games, with 12 RBI over that span. "I got some good swings tonight and fortunately for us, they got on the other side of the fence."
Howard's multihomer game was his third this season and the 20th of his career, tying the slugger for third place on Philadelphia's career list with Dick Allen.
The Braves had won the last seven starts made by Vazquez, who allowed six hits, four runs and two walks in seven innings with seven strikeouts. Howard proved too tough, particularly when Vazquez left a change-up too high in the strike zone in the sixth to the All-Star first baseman.
"He's got 30 home runs for a reason," Vazquez said. "He's a powerful guy and you've got to be careful with him."
The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 37 minutes by rain. When it finally got going, Happ and Vazquez were in control.
Happ (9-2) surrendered three hits, including Matt Diaz's seventh home run in the fourth. The 26-year-old left-hander gave up one run, six walks and struck out three in 7 2/3 innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.66 and become a solid member of the Phillies' rotation.
Striking out Yunel Escobar to end the first with runners on second and third boosted Happ's confidence.
"I was lucky to get out of the first inning," Happ said. "You get behind in the first, you know you have to battle all the way. I was really anxious during that inning."
Atlanta, which had only two runners in scoring position after the first, left the bases loaded in the sixth when Happ got Ryan Church to foul out.
"He's got that late life on the fastball that makes that fastball up look good," Diaz said of Happ. "The minute you start cheating on that late life on that fastball, it makes his off-speed pitches look good."
Ryan Madson relieved Happ for the final out of the eighth. One night after Lidge blew a save for the eighth time this season, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel brought in lefty Scott Eyre to begin the ninth with left-handed hitters coming up.
The Phillies improved to 37-20 on the road, best in the majors. They are 11-5 in their past 16 games away from Citizens Bank Park.
"In the second week of August, you're about to get in the homestretch, and you need to be able to handle your division games," said Howard, whose team improved to 20-7 this season when he home runs. "We left [Saturday's loss] in the past."
|Ryan Howard finishes the game 3 for 3 at the plate, including home runs No. 29 and 30. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.243|
|Shane Victorino, CF||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.313|
|Chase Utley, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||2||3||.294|
|Ryan Howard, 1B||3||2||3||4||1||0||0||.269|
|Jayson Werth, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.260|
|Raul Ibanez, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.292|
|Pedro Feliz, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.285|
|Carlos Ruiz, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.225|
|J.A. Happ, P||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.094|
|Ryan Madson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Scott Eyre, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brad Lidge, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|2B - Shane Victorino (30, Vazquez)|
|HR - Ryan Howard 2 (30, Vazquez, Vazquez)|
|RBI - Ryan Howard 4 (91)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Feliz-Utley-Howard, Howard-Rollins|
|J.A. Happ (W,9-2)||7.2||3||1||1||6||3||1||2.66|
|Ryan Madson (H,20)||0.1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.95|
|Scott Eyre (H,12)||0.2||0||0||0||1||0||0||1.71|
|Brad Lidge (S,23)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||7.21|
|HBP - G. Anderson (by J.A. Happ)|
|Pitches-Strikes - J.A. Happ 117-62, Ryan Madson 8-5, Scott Eyre 13-7, Brad Lidge 3-2|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J.A. Happ 10-8, Scott Eyre 1-1|
|Batters Faced - J.A. Happ 31, Ryan Madson 2, Scott Eyre 3, Brad Lidge 1|
|Omar Infante, 2B||3||0||0||0||2||0||2||.337|
|Garret Anderson, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||.280|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.297|
|Brian McCann, C||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.284|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||4||0||1||0||0||2||3||.298|
|Matt Diaz, RF||4||1||2||1||0||1||1||.293|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.262|
|Ryan Church, CF||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.274|
|Javier Vazquez, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.149|
|a- Martin Prado, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.310|
|Eric O'Flaherty, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kris Medlen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Greg Norton, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.138|
|a-walked for Vazquez in the 7th|
|b-walked for Medlen in the 9th|
|2B - Brian McCann (30, Happ)|
|HR - Matt Diaz (7, Happ)|
|RBI - Matt Diaz (32)|
|2-OUT RBI - Matt Diaz (14)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Escobar, Infante-Escobar|
|Javier Vazquez (L,10-8)||7||6||4||4||2||7||2||2.99|
|Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 107-69, Eric O'Flaherty 14-7, Kris Medlen 11-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 8-5, Kris Medlen 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 28, Eric O'Flaherty 4, Kris Medlen 3|
|Attendance - 25215|
|Game Time - 2:45|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Dana DeMuth, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Brian Knight|