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Blanton's gem helps Phils edge Dodgers

Jul 17, 2012 - 5:49 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Joe Blanton pitched eight strong innings and Ryan Howard clubbed his first homer of the year, helping the Phillies put together a three-game win streak for the first time since late May, as they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, Monday night.

It's the first three-game victory string for the five-time defending NL East champions since May 23-26, when they won four straight. The Phillies had been unsuccessful in their last four instances to get three straight wins - on June 1st, June 15th, June 21st and June 27th.

This time, Blanton (8-8) was spot on with seven strikeouts against no walks. The right-hander allowed six hits and two runs, and Jonathan Papelbon was able to strand Tony Gwynn Jr. at third to record his 20th save.

"When I kept the ball down I had good results," Blanton said. "I thought I threw the ball really well. I tried to throw as many strikes as I could."

Of Blanton's 110 pitches, 80 were strikes.

Jimmy Rollins also went deep for the Phillies, who won at Dodger Stadium for a sixth consecutive time. Los Angeles, though, swept a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park, June 4-7.

The Phillies were without second baseman Chase Utley and Howard for most of the season, and on Tuesday they'll get back another big piece to their team when Roy Halladay returns from the 15-day disabled list. The two-time Cy Young Award winner and three-time 20-game winner has been on the DL since May 28 with a right lat strain.

Nathan Eovaldi (1-6) surrendered six hits and three runs over five innings, as the Dodgers lost for the sixth time in seven tries.

Juan Pierre singled to right to plate Carlos Ruiz in the top of the second, and Rollins homered to right with one out in the third.

"We were fighting all the way," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Nathan was okay tonight, but when you leave a ball over the plate, you get hurt. Rollins and Howard will make you pay."

Howard, who didn't play until July 6 due to a torn Achilles tendon from last year's playoffs, smacked a homer to left leading off the fourth for his first RBI of the year.

"It's just a matter of getting back into the flow," Howard said. "I feel good and now it's a matter of slowing myself down and making adjustments. Our goal is to go out and win series."

The Dodgers ran themselves out of a run in the bottom of the frame when Mark Ellis was ruled out of the baseline during a rundown between third and home.

Matt Kemp's double-play grounder plated Jerry Hairston Jr. in the sixth, and a Blanton pitch squeezed through the legs of Ruiz to plate Juan Rivera in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu flied out to leave a runner in scoring position.

Rivera singled with one out in the ninth and with two down Gwynn took third without a throw. Pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy popped out to Utley at second to end the game.

Game Notes

Papelbon has at least 20 saves in seven straight seasons...Shane Victorino, who had three of Philadelphia's seven hits, has three triples in his last three games...The Dodgers went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position.