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Howard homers twice; Phillies beat Braves
Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard follows through with a three-run home run in the sixth inning Sunday against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The homer was Howard’s second of the game and carried the Phillies to a 4-1 win over the Braves. - photo by John Bazemore

Braves vs. Diamondbacks

When: 4:05 today

Where: Turner Field, Atlanta

Pitchers: Braves, RHP Tommy Hanson (7-2, 3.05); Diamondbacks, Max Scherzer (7-6, 3.94)

TV, radio: Fox Sports Net; 102.9 FM

Tickets:, 404-577-9100

Web site:

ATLANTA — Ryan Howard homered twice and drove in four runs to back rookie J.A. Happ's strong start, and Brad Lidge earned an easy save as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Sunday night.

Philadelphia, which has won five of six, dropped the Braves six games back in the National League East and kept Atlanta from tying Florida for second place in the division.

After his solo shot made it 1-0 in the second, Howard put the Phillies up 4-1 with his 30th homer in the sixth off Javier Vazquez (10-8). The 2007 NL MVP has driven in a run for seven straight games with 12 RBIs over that span.

Howard's multihomer game was his third this season and the 20th of his career, tying the slugger for third place on Philadelphia's career list with Dick Allen.

The Braves had won the last seven starts made by Vazquez, who allowed six hits, four runs and two walks in seven innings with seven strikeouts.

The star of the game was delayed 1 hour, 37 minutes by rain. When it finally got going, Happ and Vazquez were on control.

Happ (9-2) surrendered three hits, including Matt Diaz's seventh homer in the fourth. The 26-year-old left-hander gave up one run, six walks and struck out three in 7 2-3 innings.

Atlanta, which had just two runners in scoring position after the first, left the bases loaded in the sixth when Happ got Ryan Church to foul out.

Ryan Madson relieved Happ for the final out of the eighth. One night after Lidge blew a save for the eighth time this season, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel brought in Scott Eyre to begin the ninth with left-handed hitters coming up.

Eyre was pulled after walking pinch-hitter Greg Norton with two outs for Lidge, who got Omar Infante to pop out for his 23rd save.

The Phillies improved to 37-20 on the road, best in the majors. They are 11-5 in their last 16 games away from Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies improved to 20-7 this season when Howard homers.

Notes: Braves 2B Martin Prado walked as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He was scratched from the lineup because he still felt dizzy from heat-related problems that forced him to leave Atlanta's 4-3 win Saturday. ... LF Garret Anderson, who went 0 for 3, batted second in the order for the first time in 85 games with Atlanta. ... Phillies RHP Brett Myers has been cleared by an ophthalmologist for a long-toss session on Monday, three days after injuring his eye.

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