LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The rookie called up to replace Jim Thome is
filling some big spikes very well.
His eighth homer came on a night when the Phillies learned that
their slugging first baseman, Thome, is expected to have
season-ending surgery next week.
The 25-year-old Howard was summoned from Triple-A Scranton when
Thome went on the disabled list July 1.
"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself or anything
like that," Howard said after his second clutch homer off Los
Angeles closer Yhency Brazoban in less than a month.
"I'm just trying to do what I can to help the team. It was
definitely a big win. We needed it."
Howard said he didn't know until after the game that Thome was
probably going to be out the rest of the year.
"You never want to see anybody hurt, but for me, it's basically
going out there and trying to do the same thing every night and
just keep playing," Howard said.
Brett Myers, who started for the Phillies and left after seven
innings with the score tied 5-5, said the absence of Thome "is
definitely a loss."
Myers added: "But the way Ryan Howard's playing right now, I
think that we'll be OK. He's been doing it for us all year. He's a
good hitter. He's very competitive and he deserves to be here."
Howard, who earlier had an RBI grounder, drove the first pitch
he saw from Brazoban deep into the seats in right-center. He hit a
two-run shot off Brazoban -- also on the first pitch -- in the 10th
inning at Philadelphia on July 19 to give the Phillies a 5-4 win.
"I was just looking for a pitch around the zone because he'd
just walked Pat [Burrell] and the bases were loaded," Howard said
of his latest homer off Brazoban. "So he's got to come around the
plate somewhere and try to establish a strike, and I was just
trying to look for something to drive into the outfield."
His homer sailed an estimated 453 feet.
Brazoban (2-7) gave up four runs without retiring a batter. He
started the ninth by hitting Chase Utley with a pitch. After Utley
stole second, Brazoban intentionally walked Bobby Abreu, then
walked Burrell before Howard's homer.
"A hit batter, an intentional walk, then another walk and a
grand slam is going to do you in," Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy
said, shaking his head.
Ugueth Urbina (2-0) pitched a hitless eighth inning for the win.
Myers allowed four hits and five walks in seven innings. He
struck out eight, and gave up home runs to Jeff Kent and Milton
The Dodgers' Derek Lowe gave up five runs, three earned, and
seven hits in six innings.
Bradley's two-run homer in the fifth drew the Dodgers even at 5.
The home run was Bradley's 12th of the season, but first at Dodger
Stadium since May 13.
Philadelphia opened a 5-3 lead in the fifth, when Kent's
fielding error at second base led to a pair of unearned runs. Kent
muffed Kenny Lofton's grounder up the middle, and Burrell later hit
an RBI double. Another run scored on Howard's groundout.
Abreu hit a two-run homer off Lowe in the first inning after the
right-hander walked Utley with two outs. The Phillies' lead was
short-lived. Myers retired his first batter, then walked Oscar
Robles and Bradley in succession. Kent then homered to give Los
Angeles a 3-2 lead.
Philadelphia tied it at 3 on Myers' RBI groundout with the bases
loaded in the fourth.
The operation to repair a frayed tendon in Thome's elbow is
scheduled to be performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
... Bradley's last homer at home was a game-winning grand slam in
the ninth inning of a 7-4 victory over Atlanta. Bradley also had a
solo homer earlier in that game. ... The Dodgers optioned 3B-OF
Mike Edwards to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room on the roster for
OF Jose Cruz Jr., obtained Tuesday in a trade with Boston. Cruz
started in right field for Los Angeles on Wednesday night and went
0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk.
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