Howard's 44th not enough for Phils vs. Marlins
Ryan Howard's home run wasn't nearly enough for the Phillies.
Rick VandenHurk shut down the NL East champions and led the Florida Marlins to their sixth win in seven games against Philadelphia, 7-2 Friday night.
"Today we were flat," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Last night we were flat too coming off the celebration, but that's no excuse, tonight we just didn't hit."
Cameron Maybin had four hits, scored three times and drove in a run, and Jorge Cantu drove in three runs.
Howard's 44th homer accounted for the Phillies' only runs. He connected in the first inning and leads the majors with 140 RBIs.
VandenHurk "did a nice job," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He only had one bad pitch to Howard, a change up he hit out and he's hit a few of those."
Joe Blanton (12-8) was shaky for the second straight outing, allowing five runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.
"I was a bit laxed in the first inning," Blanton said. "Then I turned it on a little bit, but by then it was already too late."
Philadelphia (92-68) is racing the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in NL and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. The loss meant the Dodgers would clinch it with a win Friday night.
"I'd like to have home-field advantage," Manuel said. "We have to start winning some games in order to do that."
Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz all received the night off for Philadelphia. Manager Charlie Manuel continued resting his regulars, with Howard, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino also expected to sit at some point this weekend.
VandenHurk (3-2) gave up two runs on five hits. Three Florida relievers combined for three scoreless innings.
Cantu's two-run single in the first gave the Marlins a 2-0 lead. He added a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Florida made it 4-2 in the second on RBI doubles by Chris Coghlan and Maybin.
Philadelphia reliever J.C. Romero indicated he might not pitch again in 2009 during a pregame interview. ... The Phillies sold out Citizens Bank Park for the 40th consecutive game and 70th overall. ... Maybin is eight for his last 14 in three games. ... The Marlins have won six of the last seven at Philadelphia.