Howard stays hot against Red Sox

Howard stays hot against Red Sox

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard is making his way back to the top of the National League's leader boards.

The lefty smashed two home runs and a triple in Monday night's 8-2 victory against the Red Sox. It was his third multihome run game of the season, and his 2008 total of 19 homers puts him in a tie for second place in the NL. His four RBIs Monday night give him 62 for the season, good enough to tie the NL lead.

"It's just going out there and trying to do my part," Howard said after Monday's game. "Whatever the numbers are -- that's what they are. It doesn't matter."

Howard's first home run gave the Phillies a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning Monday. He also tripled in a run in the sixth.

The Phillies' first baseman started to get hot over the weekend in St. Louis. During the three-game series against the Cardinals, he totaled six hits, including two home runs and nine RBIs. Howard had been hitless during three games in Florida, the Phils' previous stop on their nine-game road trip.

Manager Charlie Manuel has noticed plenty of positives during Howard's past four games. The lefty has been more patient at the plate, Manuel said, as evidenced by a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning of Sunday's game.

"He's starting to look for pitches," Manuel said after Howard's three-for-five effort Monday night.

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.