LOS ANGELES -- After enduring his second-longest home run drought of the season, Ryan Howard wasn't expecting anything big at the plate.
After all, most of the balls he'd hit lately ended up in someone's glove.
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But that changed against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Brian Schneider and Howard each hit a three-run homer to power the Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-4 win Tuesday night, keeping them three games behind first-place Atlanta in the National League East.The Phillies' lead over San Francisco in the wild-card race remained 1 1/2 games, while the Dodgers fell 6 1/2 back with their third loss in four games."Three-run homers are nice. It's a good weapon," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We haven't done that in a while."Especially Howard, who had gone 13 games without a homer, since July 27 at Arizona. In April, he went 15 games without one."I feel like I've had some good at-bats and good swings over the last five, six games," he said. "I was just happy to have gotten a hit."Howard missed 16 games in August because of a left ankle sprain, and he's still working on getting his timing back."He's got to get going," Manuel said.Kyle Kendrick (9-7) allowed four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, walked one and failed to record a strikeout for the first time this season."I'm missing up and down the middle," he said. "I just need to finish pitches more."After being held to two runs or fewer in eight of their previous 12 games, including a shutout loss Monday night in which they managed just one hit, the Phillies got going early against Carlos Monasterios (3-5) and then kept up the pressure on the Dodgers' shaky bullpen.Monasterios gave up a leadoff double to Jayson Werth in the second. After Raul Ibanez flied out, Shane Victorino walked and Schneider homered to right on the first pitch he saw, putting the Phillies in front 3-1.Monasterios allowed five runs and five hits in two-plus innings, struck out one and walked one in his shortest outing of the season."He's got growing to do. If it wasn't for [Vicente] Padilla on the DL, he wouldn't be the guy in that spot," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "So it's not like he's our fifth starter, even though he's filled in for us. But it's a lot to ask and a lot to expect."Monasterios fell to 0-5 in his past seven starts, the longest losing streak for a Dodgers pitcher this season."I was trying to pitch my game, but they were able to read all my pitches," he said through a translator.Monasterios was yanked with runners at the corners after allowing singles to Placido Polanco and Chase Utley to open the third. Ramon Troncoso came on to face Howard, who sent a 1-0 pitch into the left-field pavilion for his 24th homer, extending Philadelphia's lead to 6-1.George Sherrill, the Dodgers' third reliever, walked three batters -- one intentionally -- to load the bases. He turned it over to former closer Jonathan Broxton, who gave up a two-run single to pinch-hitter Carlos Ruiz, making it 8-4.The Dodgers led 1-0 after Kendrick yielded a bases-loaded walk to James Loney in the first. But Kendrick got Casey Blake to ground into an inning-ending double play to minimize the damage."That's what this game is all about -- getting the big hit," Los Angeles shortstop Jamey Carroll said. "Whoever gets it has the upper hand, and we just couldn't get it after we had him on the ropes in the first inning."Los Angeles added a run in the fifth on Carroll's RBI groundout, and Loney hit a two-run homer in the sixth, making it 6-4.Left fielder Scott Podsednik made the defensive play of the game, grabbing Utley's foul pop for the first out of the seventh before tumbling face-first into the stands as a fan reached for the ball while holding a cell phone in his other hand."When you start getting close to the wall, it's easy for your attention to be divided between the ball and the wall. So I just tried to focus as much of my attention as I could on the ball, and fortunately I was able to make a play," Podsednik said. "I don't know how I ended up with somebody else's hat in my hand. I was just in disarray there for a brief moment."
The Dodgers ended August with a 14-15 record after going 11-15 in July. ... The Phillies hit two three-run homers in a game for the first time since July 29 at Cincinnati. ... Dodgers RHP Kenley Jansen, who began his pro career as a catcher, singled up the middle for his first major league hit in the fifth. ... Dodgers INF Ryan Theriot didn't start after feeling pain behind his left knee from tagging out Werth a night earlier, but flied out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth, ending his 11-game hitting streak. ... The Phillies improved to 34-33 on the road this season.