With the win, the Phils maintained their 8 game NL East lead over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who kept pace by beating last place Washington. The Mets and Florida Marlins game was rained out and the 2 teams remain tied for 3rd place 16 games back.
AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides game highlights:
After making a costly double error in the first inning, Ryan Howard told pitcher Roy Halladay how badly he felt. The big first baseman also promised he’d do his best to make up for the mistakes.
Howard was good at his word.
Halladay fought through his own struggles on the mound for his NL-leading 14th victory, Howard drove in four runs with a homer and a double and the Philadelphia Phillies completed a sweep of the Colorado Rockies…
After striking out with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the first, Howard’s misplays quickly followed. He bobbled Dexter Fowler’s grounder, allowing him to reach, and then botched the throw to Halladay, covering first, to allow Eric Young Jr. to score. Fowler came home on Troy Tulowitzki’s sacrifice fly.
“I just kind of rushed it,” Howard said.
“I saw the ball go in my glove and then I kind of picked my head up and took my eye off the ball. Key lesson for all the kids out there: Never take your eye off the ball.”
In the end, Howard helped in a big way…
“I definitely had to work at it and it’s one of those games that you’re glad that we kept scoring runs,” Halladay said. “That’s part of pitching as well. Sometimes those give you the best feeling. Afterward, you know it wasn’t easy.”
Brad Lidge got three outs for his first save of the season after being reinstated from the disabled list late last month. Four of his five appearances, including his latest outing, have been scoreless since his return July 25 from a right rotator cuff strain.
It was the third homer in two games for Howard, whose two-run double capped a four-run outburst in the second. The Phillies were hanging on to a 6-5 lead in the sixth when Howard followed Chase Utley’s two-out single with a drive into the center-field bleachers off reliever Rex Brothers for his 24th home run of the season.
Howard hit two solo homers in Philadelphia’s 5-0 victory over the Rockies the night before. The Phillies’ only previous sweep in a series of three or more games at Colorado came May 7-9, 1999, when Philadelphia also went 3-0.
The Rockies were swept in a home series for the first time this season.
Jason Hammel (6-11) gave up six runs on eight hits in five innings in taking the loss, which was the Rockies’ fourth straight.
After Colorado took a short-lived 2-1 lead in the first inning, due in part to Howard’s errors, the Phils shellacked Hammel for 4 runs in the second as shortstop Jimmy Rollins singled in catcher Carlos Ruiz who led off the inning with a hit and went to 2nd base on Halladay’s bunt sacrifice. Centerfielder Shane Victorino followed singling in Rollins before Hammel hit Utley with a pitch. Howard’s double cleared the bases and the Phils had a 5-2 lead.
But the Rocks kept nibbling back scoring single runs in their second and third innings. The Phils loaded the bases with 2 outs in the fourth inning after Halladay led off with a single to rightfield. Halladay scored the Phils’ 6th run on a wild pitch by Hammel with rightfielder Hunter Pence at the plate. But Pence flied out to end the inning.
The Rocks got that run back too as Fowler slammed a 1 out triple and scored on a ground out.
In the sixth, Howard’s 2 out bomb put the game out of reach at 8-5 Phillies, although 1st baseman Todd Helton slammed a 1 out solo homer off of Bastardo in the eighth to reduce the deficit to 2 runs.
For all of Wednesday’s scores and recaps, click here.
The next stop for the Phils in their Western swing is San Francisco and a 4 game series with the Giants, with their newly-acquired outfielder and former Met Carlos Beltran. In Thursday’s opener, 2 lefties duel as Cliff Lee goes for his 11th win opposed by Madison Bumgarner for the Giants.
For all of Thursday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.