If the Philadelphia Phillies are going to turn their season around, they might have to it without one of their key players for an extended period of time.
Prior to Saturday's 13-4 defeat, Philadelphia scratched Howard from the starting lineup then placed him on the DL because of inflammation in his left knee. Howard, batting .266 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs, hit a solo shot in a 5-4 victory Friday."That's a big blow," manager Charlie Manuel said. "His presence means something to us. He's still a threat."
The Phillies (42-46) likely will need Howard healthy if they're to have any chance of making a serious run at the postseason. Howard, bothered by knee issues since May, is expected to have an MRI in a day or two to determine whether he'll need surgery.
"We can't just think about the short term here, we have to think about the long term on Ryan as well," general manager Ruben Amaro told the Phillies' official website. "I think we're going to be pretty conservative with him. If it needs surgery - hopefully it doesn't - if it needs surgery we'll take care of it. If it doesn't, we'll try to rehab him and get him back."
Recently named All-Star Domonic Brown is one Phillie that will be expected to help fill the offensive void. The outfielder has batted .311 in his last 15 games and has a .316 average against the NL East-leading Braves (50-37) this season.
The Phillies will try to regroup behind Jonathan Pettibone (4-3, 3.99 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA in his last three starts. He gave up a home run and two other hits while matching a career high with six strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings of a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
This will be the right-hander's first appearance versus Atlanta, which totaled 10 runs and 26 hits while losing its previous three contests before setting season highs for runs and hits (19) on Saturday."A lot of guys swung the bats well," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We had good hitting up and down the lineup."
Brian McCann had four hits and Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer. McCann has gone 16 for 28 in his last seven games, while two of Heyward's four hits in 19 at-bats against the Phillies this season have been home runs.
Atlanta's Kris Medlen (6-7, 3.11) has gone 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA in his past six starts. He's allowed three runs in each of his last three outings, most recently Tuesday when he overcame nine hits in six innings of an 11-3 victory over Miami.
The right-hander has a 3.94 ERA in three starts versus Philadelphia, but dropped to 1-1 against the Phillies after yielding two runs, six hits and four walks in five innings of a 2-0 loss April 4.
Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz has one hit in his last 11 at-bats against the Braves, but is 4 for 6 with a double versus Medlen.
|July 04, 2013||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Right ankle contusion|
|July 02, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - left forearm spasms|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|June 17, 2013||Ramiro Pena||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|May 29, 2013||Kris Medlen||Day-to-Day||Left game - left upper calf contusion|
|May 18, 2013||Eric O'Flaherty||15-Day DL||Left elbow surgery - out for season|
|July 06, 2013||Ryan Howard||15-Day DL||Left knee inflammation|
|June 24, 2013||Ryan Howard||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|June 23, 2013||Michael Stutes||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|June 22, 2013||Jonathan Pettibone||Day-to-Day||Back|
|June 20, 2013||Mike Adams||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|June 16, 2013||Jeremy Horst||15-Day DL||Strained left elbow|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Despite playing below .500 for most of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies haven't given up hope of another division title. And more games like Sunday's result certainly will help.
Freshly chosen All-Star Domonic Brown homered, tripled and drove in two runs, leading the Phillies over the Atlanta Braves 7-3.
Ben Revere hit a two-run triple for Philadelphia, which took two of three from the NL East-leading Braves.
"We have to go right now," Brown said. "We're definitely fighting and battling."
The Phillies, who won five straight NL East titles from 2007-11, are 7 1/2 games behind Atlanta. They will try to make up more ground by hosting second-place Washington for four games beginning Monday.
"Hopefully we can win the series against the Nats," Brown said.
The Phillies also took two of three at NL Central-leading Pittsburgh last week.
"It feels great to finally start swinging the bats as a team," Brown said.
Even without slugger Ryan Howard , who went on the 15-day DL on Saturday with left knee inflammation, manager Charlie Manuel still believes in his club.
"If we stay at it and grind it out, we can win," Manuel said. "We've been there before. What the heck? We have guys in our clubhouse who know how to win."
The Phillies also are relying on unproven talent, particularly in their bullpen. They used five relievers on a hot day that began with a gametime temperature of 95 degrees to back Jonathan Pettibone (5-3), who allowed one run on five hits in 5 1-3 innings while tying his career high with six strikeouts against one walk.
"There are going to be growing pains," Manuel said of the bullpen. "The more consistent they get, that's how we're going to win."
Chris Johnson homered and Brian McCann got three hits for Atlanta, which has lost 10 of its last 15 road games. McCann finished 9 for 12 in the series and is batting .512 (22 for 43) over his last 11 games.
"Even though we had 10 hits we couldn't put up enough crooked numbers," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You get 10 hits, you can't blame the offense."
Kris Medlen (6-8) gave up a season-high six earned runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Medlen had won three straight and five of his last six starts. He surrendered eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
"It came down to execution and I didn't execute," Medlen said. "They're a veteran team and they make you throw it down the middle. They're a quality team. It was one of those days for me."
The Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead through four innings. Brown's RBI triple and Delmon Young 's single staked Philadelphia to a 2-0 advantage in the first.
Revere tripled home two more in the fourth. He is batting .337 since May 1.
The Braves scored in the fifth on Medlen's opposite-field RBI single. The first five runs of the game came with two outs.
Brown, picked Saturday to his first All-Star team, got that run back in the bottom of the fifth by turning on Medlen's inside pitch and just clearing the wall in right for his 23rd homer.
"It was down, I thought it might hit him," Medlen said. "What can I say?" He's an All-Star and he's having a heck of a year."
The Phillies were gifted a pair of runs in the sixth when Darin Ruf and Carlos Ruiz scored on Alex Wood 's wild pitch and McCann's throwing error on the play.
Johnson's homer and Jason Heyward 's single accounted for the Braves' two runs in the seventh.
Atlanta's B.J. Upton was ejected in the fifth by plate umpire Doug Eddings for arguing after being called out on strikes. Upton went 0 for 2, dropping his average to .175 with 96 strikeouts.
"B.J. didn't say very much from where I was standing," Gonzalez said. "I don't know what he said at the plate."
NOTES: Atlanta reliever Luis Ayala allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh inning. Ayala, activated from the DL on Friday after being out due to anxiety disorder, was pitching in his first game since April 24. ... The Braves open a three-game series at Miami on Monday night. LHP Mike Minor (8-4, 3.15) takes the mound for the Atlanta against RHP Kevin Slowey (3-6, 4.24). ... Phillies LHP John Lannan (1-3, 5.15) is scheduled to oppose Washington RHP Dan Haren (4-9, 6.15) when the teams open a four-game series in Philadelphia on Monday night.