There is a runaway train running through the majors called the Philadelphia Phillies and it is not about to stop.
And the conductor of that train is the home run hitting first baseman Ryan Howard. The Big Piece knocked another home run out this series, his third in the last two games, as he had another big day to lead the Phils over the Rockies, 8-6, and complete the sweep.
It was the sixth straight win for the Phils, who still hold an eight-game lead on the 2nd place Braves.
Howard went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and four RBIs. You can attribute some of that success to the arrival of Hunter Pence. Since Pence was traded to the Phillies and inserted behind Howard in the line up, Howard is hitting .409(9-for-22) in five games with three doubles, four homers and nine RBIs.
Even when he’s not at his best, Roy Halladay still was able to get the job done. Halladay had a rough day in Denver, allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out seven in seven innings. He settled down in his last two innings after giving up runs in four of the first five innings.
The Phils scored in the 1st inning on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Pence to make it 1-0. But Colorado responded with two runs of their own off Halladay to give them a 2-1 lead.
The Phils answered right back with a big four-run 2nd, capped off with Howard’s first extra-base hit of the game, a two-run double to center that gave the Phils a 5-2 lead. They never trailed again in the game.
Closer Ryan Madson wasn’t available to pitch because his wife was having a baby. And with Antonio Bastardo pitching the 8th, that left the door open wide open for Brad Lidge to pitch in a pressure situation. Lidge retired the side in order with two ground outs and a strike out to notch his first save on the season and 100th in his career as a Phillie.
2B: Howard (25). 3B: Valdez (2). HR: Howard (24).
WP: Halladay (14-4). LP: Hammel (6-11). S: Lidge (1).