WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ryan Howard isn't ready to be compared to Mike
Schmidt, no matter what the record book says.
Howard matched Schmidt's franchise record with his major
league-leading 48th home run this season, helping the Philadelphia
Phillies to a 10-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
Most HRs by a Phillie in a Season
* - Active. Total through 8/29/06.
"It means a lot, but in my eyes I've still got a lot of work to
do to even get on that type of level," Howard said. "Right now as
far as the single-season home run thing, it's an honor and it's a
cool thing to be a part of."Howard hit a three-run shot to center field in the sixth inning
off reliever Kevin Gryboski, equaling the club mark set by Schmidt
in 1980 -- when the Hall of Fame third baseman led the Phillies to
their only World Series championship.
Ryan Howard (125 RBI) has already passed Mike Schmidt's former single-season high for RBI (121 in 1980). Among the other players who never reached the 125-mark in any season: Eddie Murray, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Jose Canseco and Fred McGriff.
Howard finished 2-for-3 with two walks. His three RBI gave him
a major league-best 125 for the year."Those numbers are pretty impressive up there," Nationals
catcher Brian Schneider said. "When you miss your location a
little bit, he doesn't just make you pay with singles or doubles.
He makes you pay by hitting the ball a long, long way."Brett Myers (10-6) allowed three runs in six innings for the
Phillies, who began the day a game behind NL wild-card leader
Cincinnati. The right-hander yielded eight hits while striking out
seven."I made quality pitches when I had to and made a couple of
mistakes, but we got the win," Myers said.Mike Lieberthal hit a two-run homer off Nationals starter Tony
Armas (8-10), and Jimmy Rollins and Abraham Nunez had three hits
apiece. Pat Burrell added two hits and two RBI.Alfonso Soriano hit his 42nd home run for Washington, which lost
its third straight and eighth in nine games. Armas lasted 3 1-3
innings, allowing five runs and eight hits.In four of the Nationals' past five games, the starting pitcher
has failed to make it out of the fourth inning. Armas allowed eight
runs (five earned) in 1 2-3 innings in his previous start, last
Wednesday against Florida."He's just not giving the performance we are counting on him to
give us," manager Frank Robinson said.Arthur Rhodes struck out Jose Vidro with runners on second and
third for his fourth save.The Phillies scored twice in the first inning, when Rollins and
Shane Victorino opened the game with back-to-back singles and
scored on Burrell's two-run single. Philadelphia added three more
in the fourth on Lieberthal's home run and an RBI double by
Rollins, which chased Armas.Soriano's one-out home run in the third inning landed in the
mezzanine section in left-center. The Nationals cut their deficit
to 5-3 in the fifth when Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run triple.The Phillies scored four in the sixth, including Howard's
two-out drive to center. The home run was his 13th in August,
breaking Schmidt's previous team record of 12, set in 1975."Ryan Howard, I don't have to tell you guys, he's special,
man," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's tremendous. The
only thing he's got to do is do the same thing he's been doing
every day for the four years I've seen him, and he'll keep on
getting better."The Phillies added another run in the seventh on a bases-loaded
walk by Victorino.Ryan Church had a run-scoring single for Washington in the
eighth. Zimmerman added an RBI double in the ninth before Nick
Johnson's RBI single.Zimmerman finished 4-for-5 with three RBI. His 89 RBI are the
most among NL rookies.
Howard's intentional walk in the first inning was his 19th
this season. The Nationals have issued 72 intentional walks, most
in the majors. ... Burrell batted sixth for the first time this