Howard's 54th homer rallies Phillies past Marlins

MIAMI (AP) -- The Florida Marlins followed up their no-hitter with a 17-hitter.

Ryan Howard hit his 54th home run, one of four homers by the Philadelphia Phillies, and they rallied to rout Florida 14-8 on Thursday night.

Chris Coste, Chase Utley and Jeff Conine also homered for the Phillies, who overcame a 3-0 deficit against rookie Josh Johnson
(12-7) to win the opener of a four-game series between NL wild-card contenders.

The Marlins' Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter Wednesday against Arizona, but Johnson's no-hit bid lasted only until the third batter, when Utley singled. He was one of five Phillies to finish with two or more hits.

"They have some boys who can slug," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not the type of game we like playing."

Philadelphia closed within 2½ games of wild-card-leading San Diego with 22 to play.

"We have to play some really good ball to make that up in such a short period of time," Conine said. "Every game from here on out -- I wouldn't say a must-win, but we have to play well over .500 the rest of the way to make the playoffs."

Florida, a surprising contender with baseball's lowest payroll, fell 3½ games back.

"No one said it's going to be easy," Girardi said. "We have to beat Philadelphia. We have nine more games with them. We have to take advantage of the situation."

The teams tied a stadium record with seven homers. Howard hit his 10th in 15 games in the third inning, and he acknowledged that the 60-homer milestone is on his mind.

"But at the same time, I try to kick it out," Howard said. "It is an achievement, but you don't want to get caught up in it. When that becomes your No. 1 priority, you lose your plan."

Coste drove in four runs and hit his sixth home run, and Utley's three-run homer made the score 10-4.

"We didn't allow the game to come down to one pitch," Coste said. "Tonight there were a lot of big innings, and we just outscored them."

Conine, who spent much of his career with the Marlins and is back in the NL, received a warm ovation when he batted leading off the second inning. He hit the first pitch for a triple to start a three-run inning.

In the ninth Conine added a three-run homer, his first since joining the Phillies on Aug. 27.

"He hit good against us in this stadium," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I said, 'I'm going to play him.'"

Jon Lieber (7-9) won despite allowing three first-inning runs on homers by Miguel Cabrera and Mike Jacobs. Lieber gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Phillies closer Tom Gordon, taking the mound for the first time since a strained right shoulder sidelined him Aug. 12, needed 27 pitches to get through a scoreless ninth.

"I was in a rush to let it go and see what I had," Gordon said. "Now I can move forward and put this behind me."

Florida's Josh Willingham hit a three-run homer, his 22nd.

Johnson, the first of six Marlins pitchers, struggled with his location and gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings. His ERA rose from 2.99, third-lowest in the major leagues, to 3.20.

"I was just off," he said. "When you're missing over the plate, you make it kind of easy on them."

The buzz about the no-hitter produced no increase at the box office: The game drew a crowd of 12,712 for the team that ranks last in the major leagues in attendance.

Game notes
Howard is 13-for-28 (.464) with six home runs and 12 RBI against the Marlins this season. ... Lieber improved to 2-2 in four starts against Florida this year with an ERA of 8.22. ... Cabrera
had two hits against Lieber and improved his average against the right-hander to .429 (9-for-21). Cabrera finished with four hits to hike his average to .339.