The Philadelphia Phillies just reached a number they haven’t seen in 35 years, and Ryan Howard wants more.
Howard hit his 30th homer, Vance Worley pitched into the seventh inning, and the Phillies completed an historic four-game sweep in Cincinnati with a 6-4 win yesterday.
“Everybody’s playing well,’’ Howard said. “Atlanta’s playing well. Milwaukee’s playing well. The way I see it, we need to keep our foot on the gas and not let up.’’
Michael Martinez added a two-run homer as the Phillies (87-46) moved 41 games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 26, 1976, when they improved to 83-42 with a win at Cincinnati. It was Philadelphia’s first four-game sweep at Cincinnati since May 13-16, 1916.
Philadelphia won seven of eight games against the Reds this season to improve to 30-12 against them over the last six seasons.
Worley (10-1) allowed four runs and eight hits, struck out seven, and walked one. The first six of his K’s came on called third strikes, most of them on sinkers, he said.
Howard hit a solo shot to left-center on a 3-and-1 pitch from Mike Leake in the sixth, giving Philadelphia a 4-1 lead and extending his streak of seasons with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs to six.
Cardinals 8, Brewers 4 - Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and St. Louis completed a three-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Brewers in Milwaukee.
Rafael Furcal led off the game with a home run for the second game in a row and Pujols also hit a first-inning homer before his third-inning slam. Matt Holliday hit his 200th career home run in the fifth to help the Cardinals win for the sixth time in seven games and move within 7 1/2 games of the Brewers, who hadn’t been swept at home since the Dodgers did it Aug. 24-26, 2010.
Milwaukee scored all of its runs on homers by Prince Fielder, Jonathan Lucroy, and Corey Hart.
Fielder became the first player in Brewers history to reach 30 home runs in five consecutive seasons with a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth.
Pujols went 4 for 4 with five RBIs and three runs.
Rangers 7, Rays 2 - C.J. Wilson was perfect for five innings before exiting in the seventh with a hand injury and Ian Kinsler homered twice to help host Texas beat Tampa Bay.
Wilson (14-6) gave up two runs and two hits in six-plus innings with eight strikeouts. He got back on track after he was knocked around for six runs and 10 hits in five innings of his previous start, an 8-4 loss to the Angels.
The lefthander struck out six while retiring the first 15 Rays he faced before Casey Kotchman led off the sixth with an infield single that glanced off Wilson’s left hand.
Royals 11, Tigers 8 - Jeff Francoeur homered for his 1,000th career hit and drove in three runs, and visiting Kansas City outlasted Detroit to salvage a split of the four-game series.
Johnny Giavotella hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh inning against Luis Marte, who was making his major league debut. Eric Hosmer added a solo shot in the eighth. Hosmer also had two singles and two walks.
Kansas City starter Danny Duffy allowed five runs and six hits in five innings and, in a play emblematic of the sloppy game, overthrew his catcher on an intentional walk in the third inning for a bizarre wild pitch. Duffy wasn’t alone. In the sixth, the Royals’ Alcides Escobar struck out swinging on an inside pitch that appeared to hit his right shoulder.
Braves 5, Nationals 2 - Tim Hudson allowed one run in six innings and host Atlanta got home runs from Brian McCann and Chipper Jones in a win over Washington.
Craig Kimbrel gave up a single to Wilson Ramos but struck out the side in the ninth for his 42d save, extending his major league rookie record.
Mets 7, Marlins 5 - Miguel Batista pitched six serviceable innings to earn his 100th win, David Wright hit a two-run single in a four-run third, and host New York hung on to beat Florida.
Making his first start since April 22 for St. Louis, the 40-year-old Batista scattered six hits while becoming the third active pitcher to play for at least 10 teams.
Blue Jays 8, Orioles 6 - Brett Lawrie hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, Yunel Escobar had his second straight four-hit game, and visiting Toronto edged Baltimore, assuring the Orioles (54-81) of a 14th straight non-winning season.
Angels 4, Mariners 3 - Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick homered and Ervin Santana pitched into the seventh, lifting visiting Los Angeles past Seattle.
Athletics 7, Indians 0 - Gio Gonzalez pitched seven shutout innings and baffled host Cleveland, helping Oakland avoid a four-game sweep.
Dodgers 6, Pirates 4 - Dana Eveland pitched eight crisp innings and visiting Los Angeles survived a shaky ninth to hold off Pittsburgh.