It was notable because the lefty slugger whiffed for the 196th time this season, setting a Major League record. Cincinnati's Adam Dunn set the previous mark of 195 in 2004.
Howard went down swinging in the second inning on a nasty 87-mph splitter by 40-year-old veteran righty John Smoltz.
Howard, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, has struck out 36 times in September.
"I don't even think about [strikeouts]," Howard said on Wednesday. "We're winning ballgames, and that's all that matters."
Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.