Howard's slam in eighth propels Phils over Astros
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Howard hit a go-ahead grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies over the Houston Astros, 6-5, to complete a three-game series sweep.
Carlos Ruiz doubled off Josh Fields to open the frame and Cody Asche followed with a single to right, scoring Ruiz. After pinch-hitter Domonic Brown struck out, Ben Revere singled, putting runners on first and second. Tony Sipp (2-2) took over on the mound and Jimmy Rollins hit a line drive to left, which loaded the bases. Chase Utley flied out before Howard stepped to the plate, and on a full count, smacked a fastball into the seats in left-center field to put the Phillies up, 6-5.
"He was really aggressive," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Howard's at-bat. "He had good swings and he was really battling. He laid off some breaking balls down low and made [Sipp] come in with a strike."
Sipp didn't think Howard's grand slam was going out.
"I knew it was high enough, but he just didn't drive it the way his balls usually go," Sipp said. "Obviously, he got it well enough. Off the bat, I thought it had a chance until the last minute."
Mario Hollands (2-1) gave up one hit across the seventh and eighth innings to earn the win.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 27th save of the season.
Chris Carter went 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run homers and Marc Krauss added a solo shot as the Astros dropped their fifth straight road game.
Sean O'Sullivan got the nod after the Phillies traded scheduled starter Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers prior to the game. O'Sullivan got off to a rocky start, letting in three runs in the first and two more in the third before settling down.
In the first inning, Jason Castro walked, then Carter sent one into the seats in left for his first homer of the night. Next up, Krauss smacked one into the seats in right-center.
Castro opened the third inning with a single and Carter cleared the bases again with a blast to center field, putting the Astros up 5-1.
The Phillies scored in the second when Marlon Byrd, Grady Sizemore and Ruiz hit three consecutive singles, with Ruiz recording the RBI.
After conceding his only run of the game, Astros' starter Collin McHugh retired the next 11 batters. He struck out eight before exiting following the seventh frame.
Howard now has 13 career grand slams ... Fields was charged with three hits and three runs, while Sipp was charged with two runs and two hits. Chad Qualls induced a groundout by Byrd for the last out of the eighth inning ... The Phillies traded Hernandez to the Dodgers in exchange for two players to be named later. They selected the contract of O'Sullivan from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to prior to the game ... The Phillies have won each of their last eight games against the Astros at Citizens Bank Park, dating back to April 1, 2011 ... Papelbon picked up his 94th save with the Philadelphia, tying Tug McGraw for fifth place on the Phillies all-time saves list.
08/08 02:21:13 ET