PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Ryan Howard may never want the month of May
Howard's drive was his 17th of the season and his major
league-leading 12th this month. Ryan Madson (5-3) pitched five
solid innings and struck out a career-high seven to win his first
start since May 6. He also had a two-run double.
Howard was hounded by questions all last year about All-Star
first baseman Jim Thome, who was traded to the Chicago White Sox in
the offseason to clear the way for Howard. The questions kept
coming when Thome got off to a homer-happy start in April.
Now, the spotlight has landed squarely on Howard, who has 32
RBI in May.
"Everybody was asking me about Jim Thome and his hot start in
April," Howard said. "Jim Thome is Jim Thome. I'm just trying to
do what I can. I have no choice. I can only focus on how I'm
Howard went 2-for-3, lifting his batting average to .307.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he hasn't worried about
Thome's success affecting Howard's numbers.
"I know what type of person Ryan is," Manuel said. "He's not
the type of player to get hung up on things like that. He didn't
let it affect him last year and it hasn't even come up this year."
The scary part for opposing pitchers is that Howard still says
he hasn't found his swing yet.
"I'm just trying to get right at the plate. I'm not there yet.
When I am, I'll let you know," he said, laughing.
Philadelphia won 12 of its first 13 games in May, but Sunday's
win was its third in its last 12 games. The Phillies finished the
season series 1-5 against Milwaukee.
The Phillies caught a huge break to start the fifth when Chase
Utley beat out a grounder to second baseman Rickie Weeks. Weeks
handled the two-hopper easily but was slow on his throw to first.
"That's why you hustle," Manuel said.
Television replays showed that Weeks' throw beat Utley.
"The umpire missed the call, the replay clearly showed that,"
Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.
Milwaukee's shoddy defense enabled the Phillies to tack on two
more runs in the sixth off reliever Joe Winkelsas.
Third baseman Koskie committed an error and first baseman Prince
Fielder also mishandled a ball that was ruled a hit by Jimmy
Rollins and loaded the bases. Chase Utley had a RBI single and
Bobby Abreu drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-2.
"It wasn't our best performance," Yost said. "We didn't
capitalize on offense or defense."
Madson, who returned to the starting rotation when rookie Cole
Hamels went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, set up
hitters with an effective curveball and mixed in changeups and
fastballs to keep the Brewers off balance.
"I was able to get my curveball over for strike one and work
from there," Madson said.
Manuel wouldn't say if Madson was going to return to the bullpen
when Hamels is ready or if he is auditioning for his own spot.
Hamels is eligible to return from the DL on June 3.
"When the time comes to make a decision, that's when we'll make
it," Manuel said.
Koskie's two-run homer accounted for Milwaukee's runs off
Madson. It was his sixth homer of the season.
Madson hit a two-out, two-run double to tie the game in the
fourth. It was Madson's first major league extra-base hit and his
first two RBI. His fifth hit of the season lifted his season
average to .357 (5-for-14).
Eveland surrendered four runs and six hits in five innings. He
struck out four and walked one.
Madson's previous career high in strikeouts was six, set
May 23 during his seven-plus innings of relief in a loss against
the New York Mets. ... Milwaukee's five wins against Philadelphia
was the club's most since 1999. ... Since the All-Star break last
year, Howard has 36 homers, which ranks third behind St. Louis'
Albert Pujols and Atlanta's Andruw Jones for most in the NL.