Howard’s early blast guides Phils past Brewers

Phils slugger Ryan Howard (right) is congratulated by Raul Ibanez (left) after hitting a three-run homer. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

A day after it took the Phillies 6 innings to get their offense going, Ryan Howard made sure that they got on the board earlier. Howard blasted a Shaun Marcum offering into the seats in right field, giving the visitors an early 3-0 lead in the 1st inning. It was a lead that they would never relinquish.

Howard’s homer, his 32nd of the year, provided all the padding that Roy Halladay (17-5) would need. Doc pitched 8 brilliant innings allowing just 1 run. He struck out 9 while scattering 4 hits and 3 walks. The only trouble that Halladay got into occurred in the 4th inning when the Brewers loaded the bases with just 1 out. He then induced a double play groundball off the bat of Yuniesky Bentancourt to escape the threat.

The Phillies tacked on a pair of runs in the 7th courtesy of RBI singles from Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz extending the lead to 5-0. The Brewers answered with a run in their half of the 7th with a sac fly from Bentancourt and the Phillies took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th.

In the 9th, things got a little dicey. Antonio Bastardo started the inning with a hit and a walk putting a pair on with no outs. Enter Ryan Madson. Madson allowed a RBI single to Bentancourt and a sac fly to Jonathan Lucroy, but induced a harmless groundout from George Kottaras sealing the Phillies 5-3 win over the Milwaukie Brewers.

Shaun Marcum took the loss for the Brewers allowing 5 earned runs in 6.2 innings.

With the win, the Phillies sit at 93-48 and are riding a 5 game winning streak. They lower their playoff magic number to 3 and trim their divisional magic number to 10. With the Braves playing the Cardinals currently, one of these numbers will be a notch lower by night’s end.

2B: Polanco (12), HR: Howard (32)

WP: Halladay (17-5). LP: Marcum (12-6). S: Madson (29)

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