for this game

Howard, Utley power Phillies past Nationals

Sep 27, 2008 - 4:23 AM By Vince DiGregorio PA SportsTicker Contrbuting Writer

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- September continues to be Ryan Howard's favorite month.

Howard homered and collected four RBI and Chase Utley added a three-run double as the Philadelphia Phillies erupted for seven runs over the first two innings and coasted to an 8-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday.

The win helped the Phillies (90-70) clinch at least a tie for first place in the National League East by moving two games ahead of the New York Mets (88-71). New York dropped a 6-1 decision to the Florida Marlins.

Philadelphia needs one win in its two remaining games against Washington to take its second straight division title.

"We have everything in our own hands right now," Howard said. "We can try and go out there and hopefully, take care of business (Saturday) and finish it up."

Philadelphia's offense came at the expense of Collin Balester (3-7), who allowed seven runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.

"(Balester) only threw his fastball over the plate," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "Unless you're throwing 100 miles per hour, that won't work up here. But I'm not going to judge him on one start. He's only 22 years old."

With one out in the first, Jayson Werth and Utley singled to put runners at the corners. Howard then drove an 0-1 pitch for his major league-leading 48th home run, a three-run shot into the Phillies' bullpen in right-center field that made it 3-0.

"You want to come out and try to get out to a good start, especially going into the last three games of the season," Howard said. "I think we came out and tried to just play a normal game, but at the same time, we knew what needed to be done.

"I've just been going out there, trying to get the runs home. I haven't tried to prove anything to myself or to anybody else."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel marveled at the fact that Howard's blast was into the wind blowing in from right field.

"When he hit a home run there, that shot was a monster hit through the wind," Manuel said. "Hit that ball a long ways. That really got us going."

The slugger has hit 11 homers and driven in 32 runs this month. The 32 RBI are a franchise record for September.

"Is September my favorite month of the year?" Howard said, repeating the question posed to him. "I guess. I really don't know what it is. It's just going out there and trying to finish up strong, basically. Trying to help my team get to the playoffs."

After Washington got on the board in the top of the second, Philadelphia had the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom half when Utley capitalized. The All-Star hit a deep fly to left that hit the top of the wall - just missing a grand slam - but wound up as a bases-clearing double that made it 6-1.

Howard almost homered again as he also drove a ball off the fence down the left field line for a double that scored Utley for a 7-1 advantage.

"I think (Howard's) numbers definitely prove he's very deserving (of the MVP)," Manuel said. "We're winning games and his production speaks for itself. He gets big hits that win games. What more does he have to do?"

Joe Blanton (4-0) was the beneficiary of the run support, giving up four runs - one earned - and five hits in six innings. The righthander was victimized by a passed ball and an error by Howard that led to three unearned runs.

"It was just an unbelievable job by the offense to get me seven runs early," Blanton said. "The offense gave me all the confidence to attack the zone."

Kory Casto hit a solo home run, Cristian Guzman had an RBI single and Emilio Bonifacio added a sacrifice fly that pulled the Nationals within 7-4 after six innings. But the Phillies added an unearned run in the seventh, when Utley scored on a passed ball.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 4 6 0
    PHILADELPHIA 3 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 x 8 10 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - COLLIN BALESTER, JASON BERGMANN (2ND), CHARLIE MANNING (5TH),
    GARRETT MOCK (6TH), MIKE HINCKLEY (7TH), JESUS COLOME (7TH)
    AND LUKE MONTZ
    PHI - JOE BLANTON, S

    Sep 26 9:56 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    PASSED BALL BY LUKE MONTZ ALLOWED CHASE UTLEY TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S VICTORINO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 4
    PHILADELPHIA 8 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P FELIZ (.249, 0-FOR-0)

    Nationals 4, Phillies 8  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 26 9:17 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CRISTIAN GUZMAN SCORED ROGER BERNADINA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C GUZMAN ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    PHILADELPHIA 7 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: L MILLEDGE (.269, 0-FOR-2)

    Nationals 3, Phillies 7  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 26 8:25 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY RYAN HOWARD SCORED CHASE UTLEY.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, R HOWARD ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    PHILADELPHIA 7 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P BURRELL (.250, 0-FOR-1)

    Nationals 1, Phillies 7  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 26 7:45 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CHASE UTLEY SCORED GREG DOBBS, JIMMY ROLLINS AND
    JAYSON WERTH.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C UTLEY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    PHILADELPHIA 6 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: R HOWARD (.249, 1-FOR-1, HR, 3 RBI)

    Nationals 1, Phillies 6  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 26 7:43 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY LUKE MONTZ SCORED ELIJAH DUKES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L MONTZ ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    PHILADELPHIA 3 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: P ORR (.246, 0 HR, 7 RBI)

    Nationals 1, Phillies 3  Top 2, 0 OutsSep 26 7:30 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY RYAN HOWARD (48) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 1ST OFF COLLIN BALESTER SCORED JAYSON WERTH AND CHASE UTLEY.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0, PHILADELPHIA 3
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: P BURRELL (.250, 33 HR, 85 RBI)

    Nationals 0, Phillies 3  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 26 7:19 PM
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    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 26 6:30 PM
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    roots
    shopgirl Added 5 roots

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 26 1:15 PM