Howard, Rollins lead Phils' 12-4 rout of Pirates
PITTSBURGH (AP) - July 3, 2010 -- Ryan Howard picked up Philadelphia's slumping offense by driving in three runs, Jimmy Rollins homered among his three hits and the Phillies shook off a three-game losing streak to rout the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-4 on Saturday night.
Shane Victorino also had three hits, including a triple, and Pittsburgh shortstop Bobby Crosby's error on a seemingly routine double-play grounder led to a breakout five-run third inning - as many runs as Philadelphia scored in its previous three games.
Kyle Kendrick (5-3) gave up prized rookie Pedro Alvarez's first career homer and Ryan Church's solo shot among 10 Pirates hits, but still pitched his first major league complete game. Kendrick is 4-0 in four career starts against Pittsburgh.
The Phillies, currently without injured regulars Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz, had dropped five of seven to fall five games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East, causing manager Charlie Manuel to say his defending NL champions were facing a major test.
But the offense that was quickly becoming a worry without Utley returned against a pitcher that normally confounds the Phillies, left-hander Paul Maholm (5-7), who was 1-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his last three starts against them.
This time, Maholm failed to make it out of the fourth inning for the second time in four starts, giving up eight runs, all but one earned, and 10 hits as batters up and down the lineup gave him problems.
Victorino, rested Friday during a lethargic 2-0 loss, followed Rollins' leadoff single with a triple to make it 1-0 only two batters into the game - his NL-best eighth triple but only his fifth extra-base hit in 73 at-bats. Howard, previously 2 for 17 with six strikeouts against Maholm, singled in another run.
Rollins walked and Victorino singled to start the third, and the game began getting away from the Pirates - trying for their first four-game winning streak in nearly 11 months - when Crosby bobbled Jayson Werth's grounder to load the bases.
The Phillies went on to send 11 batters to the plate in the inning against Maholm, with Howard following with a two-run single - delighting the thousands of red-shirted Phillies fans who sometimes drowned out Pirates rooters in their own ballpark. Ben Francisco, the newly recalled Cody Ransom and Dane Sardinha added run-scoring hits.
Ransom, one of three Phillies position-player starters who began the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, had two hits in his first game for Philadelphia.
Rollins and Francisco homered later with the game already under control for the Phillies, who scored as many as 12 runs for the fourth time in 21 games despite the recent slump.
NOTES: The Pirates have lost 20 of 26 despite winning four of their previous five. They haven't won four in a row since a five-game run from Aug. 17-22 last season. ... Rollins and Victorino each scored three times. ... 1B-OF Steve Pearce's rehabilitation assignment ended at Triple-A Indianapolis, but he is not ready to rejoin the Pirates because of left knee tendinitis. ... Pirates 2B Neil Walker returned after being out a week with a concussion. ... Maholm gave up as many earned runs (four) in the third as Pirates starters did in the previous six games.
philadelphia phillies, mlb
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