The Phillies won again yesterday, overcoming a weak outing by Halladay to top the Rockies 8-6 for their sixth win in a row. Howard continued to pound the ball for the Phils, driving in four runs and homering against a left-handed pitcher for the first time this season. Howard is slugging .854 over the last 12 games.

After losing to the Cubs 6-1 on July 18, the Phils ended the day just 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East. Since then they have gone 12-3 and extended their lead in the division to eight game.

The Phillies are 71-39 after beating the Colorado Rockies 8-6 yesterday afternoon. They sweep the three-game series and have won six in a row.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and a walk. Only four of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple. He struck out seven.

Halladay was up 1-0 when Eric Young led off the bottom of the first for the Rockies and bunted. Howard was charging and the ball went over his head for a single. Young stole second before Dexter Fowler hit a ball to Howard. Howard had it, then dropped it, then flipped to Halladay covering first, but over the head of Halladay. Young scored from second to tie the game at 1-1 and Fowler went to second. Two errors on the play for Howard, one for not catching the ball and the other for throwing it away. Todd Helton was next and he grounded to second for the first out with Young moving up to third. Troy Tulowitzki was the next batter and he flew to center for the second out, with Fowler tagging from third and scoring to put the Rockies up 2-1. Seth Smith flew to center to end the inning.

Not really such a good inning defensively for Howard, what with the bunt going over his head and making two errors and whatnot. This all came after he had struck out in the top of the first after Hammel had walked the bases loaded to start the game.

Halladay started the second with a 5-2 lead. Ian Stewart led off and doubled to right. Halladay struck Mark Ellis out for the first out, but Eliezer Alfonzo followed with a single to left that scored Stewart and cut the lead to 5-3. The pitcher Hammel bunted Alfonzo to second with the second out, but Halladay got Young on a ground ball to first to end the inning.

Halladay walked Fowler to start the third. Fowler stole second before Helton singled into center, scoring Fowler to cut the Phillie lead to 5-4. Tulowitzki bunted Helton to second with the first out and Smith moved him up to third with a ground out to second. Stewart was next and Valdez made a great play to retire him, leaning over the railing in foul territory to end the inning with Helton at third.

Halladay had thrown 47 pitches through three innings.

He was up 6-4 when he started the fourth. Ellis led off with a single, but was caught stealing when Halladay stepped off and threw to second. Halladay got Alonzo and Hammel behind Ellis.

He struck out Young to start the fifth, but Fowler followed that with a triple and came home to score when Helton grounded to second. 6-5. He struck Tulowitzki out to end the inning.

Halladay had thrown 75 pitches in five innings.

He was up 8-5 when Smith started the sixth with a single. Halladay got Stewart to hit into a double-play and struck out Ellis.

Alonzo started the seventh with a single, but Chris Nelson hit into a double-play behind him. Halladay struck Young out for the third out.

Bastardo started the eighth. He got Fowler on a fly ball to center before Helton hit a 2-2 pitch out to left, cutting the lead to 8-6. Tulowitzki followed that with a single and went to second on a wild pitch, but Bastardo struck Smith and Stewart both out swinging to end the inning.

Bastardo pitches three days in a row, gets one day off and then pitches again, allowing a home run.

Lidge pitched the ninth to earn his first save of the year, getting pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs on a ground ball to short, striking out Alonzo and getting Nelson to ground to short.

Lidge gets the ball in the ninth because Madson had left the team to be with his wife, who is expecting their fourth child.

Bastardo threw 23 pitches and Hamels nine. Neither has pitched more than one day in a row, but Bastardo has pitched too much of late.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Hammel went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez plays third with Polanco on the bench. Ruiz catches the day game after Schneider started the night game on Tuesday.

Hammel walked Rollins, Victorino and Utley on a total of 15 pitches to start the game, which loaded the bases for Howard. Howard took strike one, fouled off a 1-1 pitch and struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out. Pence was next and he hit a fly ball to center for the second, deep enough for Rollins and Victorino to both move up a base with Rollins scoring to make it 1-0. Ibanez struck out swinging 1-2 to leave runners at the corners.


The Phillies were down 2-1 when they hit in the second. Ruiz led off and singled to right. Valdez flew to center for the first out before Halladay bunted Ruiz to second with the second. Rollins was next and singled to right. Smith made a bad decision, throwing home despite not having much chance to get Ruiz, which allowed Rollins to move up to second as Ruiz scored to tie the game at 2-2 Victorino followed that with another single to right, scoring Rollins to put the Phillies up 3-2. Utley was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with two down for Howard. Howard cleared the bases with a double to center, putting the Phils up 5-2. Pence struck out looking 2-2 to leave Howard at second.

After an awful first inning in which he struck out with the bases loaded, made two errors and had a bunt go over his head, Howard comes up with a big swing there.

5-3 when the Phils came to bat in the top of the third. Ibanez, Ruiz and Valdez went in order.

It was 5-4 when Halladay started the fourth with a single to right. Rollins was next and hit a ball passed Helton that looked like it would make it to right, but Ellis made a very nice play to get to the ball and throw to Hammel covering to get Rollins for the first out. Halladay moved up to second on the play. Victorino flew to center for the second out before Utley singled to right, which moved Halladay to third. The righty Hammel walked Howard on four pitches, putting runners on the corners. Hammel uncorked a wild pitch with Pence at the plate, allowing everyone to move up a base and Halladay to score, putting the Phils up 6-4 with men on second and third. Pence flew to center for the third out.

Halladay starts the rally with a single after getting the bunt down in the second.

Ibanez started the fifth with a single to left, but Ruiz hit into a double-play behind him. Valdez was next and hit a triple to center, but Halladay struck out to leave him at third.

If you want to not score in an inning where you get a triple and a single, you should try to work in a double-play or getting someone picked off.

Utley singled to right with two outs in the sixth and the lead cut to 6-5. It brought Howard to the plate against lefty Rex Brothers and Howard hit a 2-0 pitch well out to center, putting the Phils up 8-5. Pence singled to left, but was left stranded when Ibanez grounded to second for the third out.

First home run of the year for Howard against a left-handed pitcher. Third homer overall in two games.

Valdez singled with one out in the seventh, but was caught stealing for the second out. Halladay hit for himself and struck out looking.

Rollins, Victorino and Utley went in order in the eighth.

The Phils went in order again in the ninth with their lead cut to 8-6.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 1-for-12 with two walks in the three-game set. He’s hitting 264/337/399 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. 4-for-13 with two walks and a home run in the series. 302/379/522 on the year. 342/427/591 over his last 173 plate appearances.

Utley 2-for-3 with a walk. 4-for-11 with two walks and a double in the series. 289/383/491 for the year. 307/396/542 over his last 208 plate appearances.

Howard 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and a home run. 4-for-13 with a double and three home runs in the series. 255/343/495 on the season. 333/360/854 over his last 50 plate appearances. .854? Yup. 16-for-his-last-48 with seven doubles and six home runs.

Pence 1-for-4 with an RBI. The Phillies are 5-0 since he joined the team. 4-for-12 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 286/333/429 in 24 plate appearances with the Phils so far.

Ibanez 1-for-5. 3-for-12 with a walk and a double in the series. 247/294/431 for the year. 276/312/498 over his last 321 plate appearances.

Ruiz 1-for-4. 3-for-8 with two doubles in the series. 268/371/381 for the season. 338/440/521 over his last 86 plate appearances.

Valdez 2-for-4 with a triple in his only action of the series. He’s hitting 238/283/303 on the season. Polanco was 2-for-8 in the series and is hitting 275/330/344 for the year. 4-for-13 with four singles since returning from the DL.

Cliff Lee (10-7, 3.14) faces lefty Madison Bumgarner (6-10, 3.80) late tonight in San Francisco. Bumgarner threw to a 7.79 ERA in his first four starts of the year. He’s thrown to a 3.19 ERA with a 1.19 ratio over his last 18 starts and struck out 106 in 113 innings. He’s allowed just five home runs on the year and only three in his last 115 2/3 innings. After an amazing June in which he allowed one run in 42 innings, Lee was less successful in July. Three of the five starts he made weren’t very good and he threw to a 4.91 ERA for the month while opponents hit .287 against him. Tonight will be his first start in August.

This says Oswalt will start on Sunday against the Giants.