CINCINNATI (AP) - The Philadelphia Phillies just reached a
number they haven't seen in 35 years, and Ryan Howard wants more.
Howard hit his 30th homer, Vance Worley pitched into the seventh
inning and the Phillies completed an historic four-game sweep in
Cincinnati with a 6-4 win on Thursday.
"Everybody's playing well," Howard said. "Atlanta's playing
well. Milwaukee's playing well. The way I see it, we need to keep
our foot on the gas and not let up."
Michael Martinez added a two-run homer as the Phillies (87-46)
moved 41 games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 26, 1976,
when they improved to 83-42 with a win at Cincinnati. It was
Philadelphia's first four-game sweep at Cincinnati since May 13-16,
Manager Charlie Manuel is as greedy as Howard.
"Keep winning games," he said when asked his goal as the
season moved into September. "I'd like to see us win a lot of
games - run off a good streak where we could play a lot of those
(bench) guys. We can win some more. We definitely want to win the
division and have the best record."
Philadelphia won seven of eight games against the Reds this
season to improve to 30-12 against them over the last six seasons.
Howard hit a solo shot to left-center on a 3-1 pitch from Mike
Leake in the sixth, giving Philadelphia a 4-1 lead and extending
his streak of consecutive seasons with at least 30 homers and 100
RBIs to six.
"It's cool," Howard said. "It's not easy. It's great to be
able to do that."
Martinez went deep in the seventh, hitting a drive off Jared
Burton into the fourth row of right-field seats.
"What really hurt us was that two-run home run by Martinez,"
Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Worley (10-1) allowed four runs and eight hits, struck out seven
and walked one. The first six of his Ks came on called third
strikes, most of them on sinkers, he said.
The Phillies improved to 15-2 in Worley's 17 starts this season
and have won each of his last 13, their longest streak since they
won a club-record 15 consecutive Steve Carlton starts in 1972.
Worley was cruising before the Reds opened their seventh with
three consecutive hits. Drew Stubbs doubled and Ryan Hanigan
singled before pinch-hitter Chris Heisey hit an opposite-field
drive to right to get Cincinnati within two.
Worley said he was a little off following Philadelphia's lengthy
top of the seventh.
"I went up in the tunnel and threw," he said. "There's a
little screen there. I thought I could go out and be fine, but I
left some balls up in the zone."
Heisey was activated from the disabled list before the game. He
had been out since Aug. 7 with a strained left oblique.
"We got close with a big home run by Heisey," Baker said. "I
think it is the first opposite-field home run of his career. We
missed Heisey big time."
Brad Lidge and Antonio Bastardo combined to finish the seventh,
and Bastardo struck out the side in the eighth before Ryan Madson
worked the ninth for his 26th save.
Philadelphia got to Leake (11-9) for three runs in the second
inning. Brian Schneider, Worley and Shane Victorino each had an RBI
It could have been worse for the Reds but center fielder Stubbs
cut down Schneider at the plate when he tried to score on Worley's
bouncer up the middle.
The Reds snapped their streak of consecutive scoreless innings
at 21 in the bottom half. Brandon Phillips doubled to left,
advanced to third on Edgar Renteria's groundout to shortstop and
scored on Joey Votto's sacrifice fly to center.
Leake (11-9) gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings. He
struck out six and walked one.
"I was falling behind," he said. "I wasn't attacking hitters
like I did the rest of the game. The only ball hit hard was the one
by Pence. Then I just tried to keep the ball down, out of the