Phillies 3, Dodgers 2

Ryan Howard hit the ball out of the park for the first time this

season and Joe Blanton kept the ball in the yard for the first time

in more than two months.

As a result, the Philadelphia Phillies have their first

three-game winning streak since late May.

Howard homered leading off the fourth inning for his first RBI

in six games since coming off the disabled list and Blanton pitched

eight effective innings to lead the Phillies over the Los Angeles

Dodgers 3-2 on Monday night.

Howard, the 2006 NL MVP who averaged 132.7 RBIs over the

previous six seasons and led the NL three times with 140 or more,

missed Philadelphia’s first 84 games because of the ruptured left

Achilles tendon he sustained while grounding out to end last year’s

NL division series against St. Louis.

”It was definitely big, and it was something that was very

meaningful today because we won,” Howard said. ”I feel good. Now

it’s just a matter of getting back into the flow of playing at this

level, making adjustments and slowing myself down at times.

Sometimes I get to be too quick.”

Jimmy Rollins also went deep and Jonathan Papelbon retired

pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy on an easy popup with a runner at third

to end it. Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth in his Dodger Stadium

debut, posting his 20th save in 22 attempts.

Next, the last-place Phillies get ace Roy Halladay back from the

disabled list Tuesday night after missing seven weeks with a lat

injury. The two-time Cy Young Award winner hasn’t pitched in the

majors since May 27 at St. Louis, when he lasted two innings and

gave up a grand slam to Yadier Molina during an 8-3 loss.

”It gives us a lot of hope,” Howard said. ”I mean, you have

to forget what happened in the first half. We just have to keep

doing what we’re doing right now as a team and as a unit. The goal

for us right now is just to go out and win a series, no matter

who’s on the mound.”

Blanton (8-8) allowed two runs and six hits, struck out seven

and walked none while helping the Phillies win three straight games

for the first time since a four-game stretch May 23-26. The

right-hander did not give up a home run for the first time since

May 8 against the New York Mets, after 11 consecutive starts in

which he allowed at least one for a total of 19 overall.

The Dodgers have the second-fewest homers in the majors, just

one more than San Francisco.

”Keeping the ball down was a big difference. Lately I’ve had a

little bit of trouble doing that as consistently as I did

tonight,” said Blanton, who threw 80 of 110 pitches for strikes.

”I try to throw as many strikes as I can and expand the zone a

little bit when I get ahead in the count.”

Juan Rivera led off the seventh with a single and scored on

Blanton’s two-out wild pitch to Bobby Abreu. Blanton, however,

retired Abreu on a fly ball and set down the side in order in the

eighth, striking out Matt Kemp on a checked swing at a ball in the

dirt.

”He was throwing all his pitches for strikes – sinkers in,

cutters in,” Dodgers shortstop Luis Cruz said. ”He pitched a

really good game. He had his stuff today, spotting every pitch he

threw.”

Nathan Eovaldi (1-6) allowed three runs and six hits in five

innings before he was removed for a pinch-hitter. The 22-year-old

right-hander was moved up a day in the rotation along with Chris

Capuano because of an injury to Chad Billingsley, scratched from

Sunday’s start because of inflammation in his right elbow.

Capuano, who was scheduled to start the opener of this

three-game series, lost 7-2 to San Diego after the Dodgers made

five errors and gave up six unearned runs.

Juan Pierre, who spent three seasons with the Dodgers and was

pushed out of a starting role in 2008 after the acquisition of

Manny Ramirez, opened the scoring for the Phillies in the second

inning with a two-out RBI single. Rollins made it 2-0 in the third,

driving a 3-2 pitch into the left-field pavilion for his ninth

homer.

”I left it over the plate,” Eovaldi said. ”I’ve been falling

behind too often. I fall behind too many times, it’s a predictable

count. Even when I was ahead, I didn’t put the batters away as

quickly as I should.”

Howard, who flied out to the left-field warning track his first

time up, homered to left on Eovaldi’s first pitch of the fourth to

make it 3-0.

”I didn’t know if the first one would go out. I just tried to

make some solid contact, but I flew out at the warning track, so I

knew we weren’t in Colorado anymore,” Howard said. ”I just tried

to come up my next AB and make something happen.”

NOTES: The victory was the Phillies’ 900th against the Dodgers

during the regular season since the rivalry began back in 1890. The

Dodgers have beaten them 1,144 times. They’ve also met in the

postseason five times, with the Dodgers winning NL championship

series in 1977 and 1978, and the Phillies winning the NLCS in 1983,

2008 and 2009. … Blanton is 7-0 with a 2.05 ERA in eight starts

this season when pitching seven or more innings. In his other 10

starts, he is 1-8 with a 7.67 ERA. … Howard needs six extra-base

hits for 500 in the majors. … The Dodgers, who swept a four-game

series at Philadelphia during the first week of June, have lost six

straight to the Phillies at home.