for this game

Howard the hero with eighth-inning blast

May 2, 2008 - 3:41 AM By Larry Dougherty PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Ryan Howard put his horrid April start behind him in style with a game-winning homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

After batting .172 in April, Howard also doubled in a run in the third inning as Philadelphia pitchers held San Diego scoreless after a two-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning.

"Towards the end of April I was starting to get better swings," Howard said. "It is kind of like a fresh start A new month. You forget about everything that happened the first month and go out do what you can that next month."

Randy Wolf, making his first start against his old team, pitched six strong innings, and struck out a season-high nine batters.

"I think regardless, it would have been the same. You've got to treat it like a (regular) start," Wolf said on pitching against the Phillies. "Obviously, you can't get too sentimental or nostalgic with a lineup like they throw out there."

The game started in the exact same fashion as Wednesday's 4-2 Padres win. Tad Iguchi singled and Gonzalez slugging a two-run homer to right field in the top of the first for a 2-0 San Diego lead.

"Getting us down two runs early is not the best way to start the day," Phillies starter Adam Eaton said. "We battled back. I feel good about the win, but obviously do not like to give up home runs early."

The Phillies loaded the bases in the second on singles by Pat Burrell and Eric Bruntlett and a walk to Carlos Ruiz. Wolf then struck out Eaton to get out of the jam.

Eaton worked out of a bases loaded jam in the second when Howard speared a line drive to end the inning. The righthander, who tossed his sixth consecutive no decision to start the season, allowed just one baserunner in his final three frames, a walk to Jim Edmonds, before leaving after the sixth inning.

"We just couldn't break through against Eaton," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "We looked like we had an opportunity early in the game to get a run or two more after Gonzo's (Gonzalez) homer, but it just didn't materialize for us."

Philadelphia finally got to Wolf in the third. Shane Victorino, making his first start since coming off the disabled list Tuesday, doubled to lead off the frame. Wolf then struck out Jayson Werth and Chase Utley before Howard delivered an RBI double. Pat Burrell then drove Howard in with a double to left to tie the game.

Wolf then settled in, allowing just one hit over his next three innings while striking out five, including four straight during one stretch.

"Those guys (Phillies) put together some good at-bats," Wolf said. "Fought off some pitches and got some deep counts in there, which unfortunately, I was unable to go further than six (innings)."

Howard's homer to lead off the eighth was the Phillies first hit since a Utley single in the fifth. It made a loser of Joe Thatcher (0-3).

"Last couple of days I had some good swings and was seeing the ball better but to be able to come through in a situation like that it only makes it that much better," Howard said.

Tom Gordon (3-2), who has allowed just two earned runs over his last 11 innings of work, recorded the win with a scoreless eighth.

Brad Lidge retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up his seventh save.

"They (bullpen) came in and did there job," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Lidge was real sharp tonight, especially with his hard slider."

With the win, the Phillies moved into sole possession of first place in the National League East Division. The reigning NL East Champions did not accomplish that feat until the final week of the 2007 season.

"It feels good, it definitely feels good," Howard said. "With Jimmy (Rollins) and Shane (Victorino) going down early and the way we were hitting early to be where we are is a good feeling because we have not played anywhere near our capability yet. Once the bats start getting hot it is going to be onward and upwards."






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    Padres 2, Phillies 3  FinalMay 1 10:43 PM
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    Padres 2, Phillies 3  FinalMay 1 10:05 PM


  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    SAN DIEGO 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 0
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 x 3 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: SDG - RANDY WOLF, CLA MEREDITH (7TH), JOE THATCHER (7TH) AND JOSH
    BARD
    PHI - ADAM EATON, RYAN MADSON (7TH), J.C. ROMERO (7TH),
    TOM GORDON (8TH), BRAD LIDGE (9TH) A

    May 1 9:46 PM
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    Padres 2, Phillies 3  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 1 9:39 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RYAN HOWARD (6) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF JOE THATCHER.
    CURRENT SCORE: SAN DIEGO 2, PHILADELPHIA 3
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P BURRELL (.337, 2-FOR-3, RBI)

    Padres 2, Phillies 3  Bot 8, 0 OutsMay 1 9:34 PM
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    Padres 2, Phillies 2  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 1 8:21 PM


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    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY PAT BURRELL SCORED RYAN HOWARD.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, P BURRELL ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SAN DIEGO 2
    PHILADELPHIA 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P FELIZ (.207, 0-FOR-1)

    Padres 2, Phillies 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 1 8:07 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY RYAN HOWARD SCORED SHANE VICTORINO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R HOWARD ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SAN DIEGO 2
    PHILADELPHIA 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P BURRELL (.333, 1-FOR-1)

    Padres 2, Phillies 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsMay 1 8:06 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    SAN DIEGO 2 2 2 0
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: SDG - RANDY WOLF
    PHI - ADAM EATON

    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: S VICTORINO (.224, 0 HR, 2 RBI)
    J WERTH (.278, 5 HR, 13 RBI)
    C UTLEY (.360, 11 HR, 23

    Padres 2, Phillies 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 1 7:14 PM