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Atlanta at Philadelphia

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Atlanta (67-61)000010010280
Philadelphia (74-52) «01020010x492

Howard's two homers carry Phils past visiting Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Even the rain can't stop Ryan Howard, especially this time of year.

Howard homered twice during a perfect night at the plate, Jamie Moyer pitched effectively in relief of Pedro Martinez, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on a soggy Friday.

Howard is enjoying his annual late-season surge. He's batting .339 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI in his last 15 games, giving him 37 homers this season.

"It makes you feel good when he starts hitting," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's amazing. He'll take two swings and not look too good, then all of a sudden he stays on a pitch and smokes it out of the yard. He's a tremendous hitter."

Looking for its third consecutive division title, Philadelphia increased its NL East lead to eight games over Atlanta and Florida, which lost at home to San Diego.

Howard gave the World Series champion Phillies a 1-0 lead with a homer in the second inning off starter Tommy Hanson (9-3), who was celebrating his 23rd birthday. After Jayson Werth struck out, rain forced a delay of 63 minutes.

Play then resumed for seven minutes before another 45-minute stoppage.

In the fourth, Howard drove a two-run shot to center off Kris Medlen for his 22nd career multihomer game and fifth this season. The slugger also stroked a double and walked to finish 3 for 3 with three RBI.

More could be on the way. From Aug. 26 through the end of the past two seasons, Howard has hit a combined .317 with 25 homers and 54 RBI.

Neither starter returned after the second delay. Hanson was trying to become the first rookie pitcher since Roy Oswalt in 2001 to go two months without a loss and at least four wins.

"That's not how I wanted the night to work out," Hanson said. "But what can you do? It rained."

Martinez allowed one hit and one walk in two innings. He was on deck in the second -- following the first delay -- but didn't return after the second stoppage.

"The weatherman loves me," said Martinez, who also had his Aug. 18 start cut short because of wet weather. "He blesses me with the rain all the time."

As he did on Aug. 18, Moyer (12-9) relieved Martinez. The 46-year-old lefty worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run and four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. It was his second win in relief after being bumped from the rotation, and No. 258 of his 23-year career.

"It was the Pedro and Jamie show again," Martinez said. "I'll take it. What a cool show. It's one old goat picking up another old goat."

Ryan Madson loaded the bases in the eighth, but escaped by getting Adam LaRoche on a fly to center field. Struggling closer Brad Lidge, who has a 7.17 ERA and leads the majors with nine blown saves, worked a quick ninth for his 26th save.

Lidge arrived at the ballpark with a "military" style haircut, a developing trend among the relievers, and said he hoped it would change his fortunes.

"Nothing like a fresh haircut to get you on a good run and hopefully bring you luck," Lidge said. "I haven't been thrilled with the way my season has gone, but the great thing is we have such a good team where we're in first place. The consistency hasn't been there. We all know we have to be at our best by the time the playoffs roll around. I feel like I'm very close."

Matt Diaz drove in Atlanta's first run in the fifth with the second of his three doubles. Chipper Jones added an RBI groundout.

After losing two of three in Pittsburgh, the Phillies felt good about beating the Braves -- and the clouds.

"It was definitely a good game to try and right the ship because it's a game where, for both teams, it was a mental game," Howard said. "You're playing the waiting game with the rain, starting and stopping and trying to stay loose. We didn't know it was going to be up in the air. We were able to play through some things and get it done."

Notes

  • Phillies reliever J.C. Romero was in Philadelphia to have his strained left forearm examined. There is still no timetable for his return.
  • Matt Stairs pinch hit for Philadelphia in the seventh and grounded out, extending his slump to 0 for 25. His last hit came on July 11.
  • Atlanta CF Nate McLouth, who has missed 10 games with a strained left hamstring, went 1 for 2 with a walk while playing center for Double-A Mississippi.
 
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 goes 3 for 3 with three RBI and records his 22nd multihomer game and fifth of the season.  (AP)
Ryan Howard goes 3 for 3 with three RBI and records his 22nd multihomer game and fifth of the season. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

R. Howard
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 3
Atlanta

M. Diaz
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Atlanta Braves
Matt Diaz, RF5131010 .324
Martin Prado, 2B4020001 .304
Chipper Jones, 3B4001003 .278
Brian McCann, C4000013 .287
Garret Anderson, LF4020000 .287
Yunel Escobar, SS2000211 .304
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000015 .273
Ryan Church, CF2110012 .279
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
   a- Greg Norton, PH1000000 .141
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
   b- Kelly Johnson, PH1000000 .215
Tommy Hanson, P1000010 .074
    Kris Medlen, P0000000 .000
   c- Omar Infante, PH-CF3000021 .315
Totals3528228  
a-fouled out for O'Flaherty in the 7th
b-grounded out for Gonzalez in the 9th
c-struck out for Medlen in the 5th
Batting
2B - Matt Diaz 3 (16, Moyer, Moyer, Madson)
RBI - Matt Diaz (42), Chipper Jones (56)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Garret Anderson 1
DP - Jones-Prado-LaRoche
Atlanta Braves
Tommy Hanson (L,9-3) 2211041 3.15
Kris Medlen 2322021 4.20
Eric O'Flaherty 2100120 3.43
Peter Moylan 1211000 3.20
Mike Gonzalez 1100100 2.41
IBB - Werth by Mike Gonzalez
WP - Tommy Hanson (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 29-19, Kris Medlen 33-24, Eric O'Flaherty 24-15, Peter Moylan 11-8, Mike Gonzalez 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 1-1, Kris Medlen 3-0, Eric O'Flaherty 2-1, Peter Moylan 3-0
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 8, Kris Medlen 8, Eric O'Flaherty 7, Peter Moylan 5, Mike Gonzalez 5
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4000011 .244
Shane Victorino, CF4000000 .308
Chase Utley, 2B4110010 .301
Ryan Howard, 1B3233100 .272
Jayson Werth, RF3010121 .271
Raul Ibanez, LF4110013 .281
Pedro Feliz, 3B3021000 .274
Carlos Ruiz, C2010011 .233
Pedro Martinez, P0000000 .167
    Jamie Moyer, P2000020 .143
    Chan Ho Park, P0000000 .143
   a- Matt Stairs, PH1000001 .198
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals3049428  
a-grounded out for Park in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Howard (29, Gonzalez), Pedro Feliz (23, Hanson)
3B - Raul Ibanez (3, Moylan)
HR - Ryan Howard 2 (37, Hanson, Medlen)
SH - Carlos Ruiz (4)
RBI - Ryan Howard 3 (111), Pedro Feliz (64)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Rollins-Utley-Howard
E - Pedro Feliz (13, Throwing), Ryan Howard (10, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Pedro Martinez 2100110 4.50
Jamie Moyer (W,12-9) 4.1411050 5.12
Chan Ho Park (H,9) 0.2000010 4.44
Ryan Madson (H,22) 1311100 3.09
Brad Lidge (S,26) 1000010 7.17
Pitches-Strikes - Pedro Martinez 25-14, Jamie Moyer 61-42, Chan Ho Park 7-5, Ryan Madson 25-14, Brad Lidge 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Pedro Martinez 1-4, Jamie Moyer 6-2, Ryan Madson 1-2, Brad Lidge 2-0
Batters Faced - Pedro Martinez 8, Jamie Moyer 17, Chan Ho Park 2, Ryan Madson 7, Brad Lidge 3
Game Information
Attendance - 44747
Game Time - 2:24
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Randy Marsh, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Marvin Hudson