CINCINNATI (AP) -- Ryan Howard was tired and aching when he came
to bat a few hours after his late-night trip to the emergency room.
Two nonstop trips around the bases made him feel a little better.
Out of the lineup because of a stomach illness, Howard got into
the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and hit a tying
homer. He connected again in the 12th for a 2-1 victory over the
Cincinnati Reds on Sunday that extended the Phillies' remarkable
Philadelphia won for the 13th time in 14 games, completing its
first three-game sweep in Cincinnati since September 2002.
"We come to the ballpark expecting to win," manager Charlie
Manuel said. "Right now, we're good as far as being together and
our chemistry and how we look at things. I've got a good feeling
about our club right now."
Howard wasn't feeling very good when his 12th homer off
left-hander Chris Hammond (0-1) finished the longest game of the
season for both teams. It was his third two-homer game of the
season. Both homers came off left-handed pitchers.
Howard, who bats left-handed, had another thing going against
him besides the pitcher matchups. He got a stomach illness Saturday
night and went to a hospital emergency room, staying for a few
hours for treatment.
Working on only a few hours of sleep, Howard had no expectations
when he came to bat. He was stunned when the ball cleared the wall
-- twice, no less.
"I have no clue. It just happened," said Howard, who homered
three times in the series. "I felt weak, tired. I was just trying
to see some pitches. I was just being very selective."
The Reds have lost three in a row for the first time this
season, a slump that knocked them out of first place in the NL
Central. The league's highest-scoring offense has gone cold,
scoring one run or less in six of the last 11 games.
"Offensively, it's been tough," manager Jerry Narron said.
"We're not scoring runs. We're not getting hits early in the game.
But if we continue to pitch the way we have the past couple of
days, we're going to win a lot of games because we'll break out of
Cincinnati's Jason LaRue hit a solo homer with a pink bat
inscribed with his mother's name, providing the only run off a
Phillies starter in the series. Left-hander Brandon Claussen made
the 1-0 lead stand until the weary Howard came to the plate in the
A day after Philadelphia's Jon Lieber retired the first 20
batters on his way to a 2-0 victory, Claussen was almost as stingy,
blanking the Phillies on a pair of hits before Howard's third
career pinch-hit homer tied it at 1. It was the first pinch-hit
homer by the Phillies this season.
"Everything was good," Claussen said. "I just made one
mistake. What's done is done. They're playing good baseball right
Numerous players from both teams used pink bats, part of major
league baseball's support of the fight against breast cancer. Ken
Griffey Jr. used one inscribed with the name of his mother,
Alberta, and liked the way it felt.
"I'm telling you, they're not getting this one back," he said,
swinging it in the clubhouse before the game.
It felt better than it worked. Griffey went 0-for-5 with a walk
and a strikeout.
Then again, none of the Reds' bats worked very well against the
Phillies' starters during the series. Cole Hamels and Lieber
combined for 13 2-3 shutout innings in the first two games.
Brett Myers extended the streak to 17 2-3 innings before LaRue --
using a pink bat inscribed with Melanie LaRue -- hit a solo homer
off the facing of the upper deck in the fifth inning.
It was the only mistake in seven innings by Myers, who got hit
hard in his first two starts of the season but has since gone on a
roll. The right-hander has given up only 10 earned runs in his last
six starts, a 2.11 ERA over that span.
The Phillies are 2-0 in extra innings, the Reds 1-1. ...
Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu sat out a second straight game because
of mild back spasms. ... The Reds put LH reliever Kent Mercker on
the 15-day disabled list with a sore elbow and called up RH Mike
Burns from Triple-A. ... Reds LHP Eric Milton, on the DL following
knee surgery, is expected to start the Hall of Fame game Monday in
Cooperstown, N.Y., against Pittsburgh. ... Claussen went eight
innings, matching his career high. ... The Reds have given up four
pinch-hit homers this season.