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Phillies down Cubs, become first MLB club to 40 wins

Jun 13, 2011 - 1:30 AM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Ryan Howard delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning, Roy Oswalt pitched seven innings for his first win in nearly two months, and the Phillies became the first MLB team with 40 wins this season after a 4-3 victory over the Cubs.

Oswalt (4-4) gave up three runs -- all in the first inning -- five hits and two walks for his first victory since April 21. He had been 0-4 in his last six starts.

Howard knocked in three runs for the Phillies, who captured the last three games of the four-game series to improve to 6-2 in their last eight.

Philadelphia's first baseman was happy with how the team bounced back from an 11-inning loss in Thursday's opener -- scoring seven runs in the second and third games and coming back in this one.

"We were able to pick ourselves up," said Howard. "Good stuff."

Chase Utley had two hits and scored twice, while Michael Stutes and Ryan Madson pitched the last two innings to secure the win.

Chicago starter Doug Davis remained winless since May 5, 2010, after giving up two runs, five hits and five walks in five innings. Sean Marshall (3-1) pitched the seventh to take the loss.

"Doug kept us in there," said Marshall. "I hate that I gave the lead up."

The Cubs fell to 3-13 in their last 16 games and finished 2-8 on a 10-game road trip. Things aren't going to get any easier. They are headed home for a tough seven-game stretch against the Brewers and Yankees.

Entering Sunday, Oswalt was the only regular Philadelphia starter having any kind of trouble on the mound. He had dropped back-to-back starts, finishing a stretch where the Phillies went just 1-5 in his six appearances.

After giving up four hits and three runs in the first inning -- the big blow was Aramis Ramirez's two-run homer -- he settled down to tie a season-high with seven innings and struck out more batters on Sunday than he had in any previous outing since his last win.

He also passed the 1,700 strikeouts mark in the first inning, one of seven active pitchers with at least that many.

While he held the Cubs at bay, the Phillies scratched their way out of a hole despite leaving the bases loaded in two of the first three innings.

Raking against lefthanders recently (nine hits in his last 15 at-bats against southpaws) Howard doubled home Shane Victorino in the first inning.

"He's staying on the ball," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who was ejected by home plate umpire Alan Porter for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the sixth. "He's not committing early."

Raul Ibanez struck out and Carlos Ruiz lined out with the bases loaded to end the first.

Ibanez plated Utley with a single in the third, but the Phillies again left the bases loaded when Ruiz struck out and Wilson Valdez grounded out.

Little happened offensively for either team until the Phillies rallied to go ahead in the seventh.

Victorino was hit by a pitch leading off, then went to third on Utley's double. Howard, facing slider after slider from Marshall, sent the fourth one past the right side of second base to score both runners and make it 4-3.

Stutes struck out the last two batters he faced in a perfect eighth, and Madson worked around Koyie Hill's two-out single in the ninth for his 15th save.

Game Notes

It was Manuel's second ejection of the season...Marshall took his first loss since last August 29 at Cincinnati...The Phillies improved to 5-2 on an 11- game homestand...Oswalt upped his lifetime record against the Cubs to 15-13...Davis, who is 0-5 in a Cubs uniform, missed most of last season for the Brewers due to season-ending arm surgery.