Howard homers twice in Phillies' rout

Howard homers twice in Phillies' rout

WASHINGTON -- Matt Chico drew the unfortunate assignment of pitching against a volcanic team in need of an eruption.

When the Phillies' bats rumbled, Chico and relievers Jesus Colome and Chris Schroder did nothing to stop the destruction. The 12-2 defeat of Washington on Wednesday supplied contradictory evidence that Nationals Park favors pitchers.

After scoring one run in the first two games of the series -- and managing to split -- Philadelphia smacked balls all over and out of Washington's new digs and made itself feel at home.

"It seemed like forever," said Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, regarding the time between offensive outburts. "We got shut out the first night, and scored one run late in the game last night. Coming out with a barrage tonight, maybe we just saved it all up for tonight. It was nice to get the big boys swinging the bats again. When our offense does stuff like, it shows obviously what kind of offense we have."

Victorino, Pedro Feliz and Ryan Howard each had three hits and homered. Howard had two, including the furthest shot hit in the 24-game-old park. The 12 runs were the team's highest output of the season.

For the second straight start, Jamie Moyer (4-3) benefited from the offense, lasting six shutout innings. He has received 22 runs of support in his previous two outings.

"It was nice to see us score a bunch of runs," Moyer said.

The game was still in doubt through the first four innings, and the 45-year-old lefty had to escape first-and-third, no-out jams in the second and fourth innings, which he did by retiring the bottom of the order.

Fifth-inning solo homers by Victorino and Howard padded the lead to 4-0, chasing Chico. The Phillies were mean to Colome (six runs in one-third of an inning) and Schroder (two runs), sending 13 men to the plate in an eight-run sixth inning.

Every position player starter except Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth had at least one hit, though Werth and Burrell walked.

Howard had four RBIs, and is hitting .280 in his past 13 games, with six home runs. It may not seem like much, but it's raised his batting average to .195. The first one went into the second deck; the second to center field.

"Confidence-wise, I'm fine -- It's just a matter of balls falling in-wise," Howard said, pausing for effect. "It's just one thing where I'm trying to take it day by day and try to get the momentum going. I'm trying to see it as long as possible. The main goal is to hit it where it's pitched."

An offense that clicks like that is what the Phillies need to overcome their starting pitching shortcomings. Moyer's solid work brought the starters' ERA to 4.48.

"It was just one night only," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "We have to do it again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day. We can celebrate that game right now, but once we take a shower and leave here, we have to do it all over again. That goes for everybody."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.