Howard Keeps Phillies in Wild Card Race

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Saturday, September 9, 2006; 6:38 AM

-- Ryan Howard hit his 55th and 56th home runs, and Jamie Moyer pitched eight sharp innings to help the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Mariners 3-2 Friday night.

Scott Olsen gave up both of Howard's homers, and now the Phillies have won the first two games in a four-game series between the NL wild-card contenders.

"We've talked about not letting him beat us," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "Ollie made some mistakes to one guy. He's one guy in the league right now you can't afford to make mistakes to. All I'm going to say is we didn't execute the way we were supposed to."

The victory moved the Phillies within 1 1/2 games of the wild-card leading San Diego Padres. Florida is 3 1/2 games back.

Howard hit a two-run drive in the sixth and a solo shot in the eighth for his seventh multihomer game this season. The first homer came on a 2-0 count with the Marlins leading 1-0, and the second came with one out.

Both times rookie Olsen threw Howard a fastball, and Girardi hinted that he would have preferred Olsen (12-8) to pitch around the slugger.

"Except for a couple of pitches to Ryan, I pitched a good game," Olsen said. "He's got 56 home runs for a reason."

In other NL games, it was: San Francisco 4, San Diego 0; Los Angeles 5, New York 0; Atlanta 8, Chicago 4; Houston 4, Milwaukee 3; Cincinnati 9, Pittsburgh 1; Arizona 13, St. Louis 1; and Colorado 11, Washington 8.

Moyer (2-1), making his 514th start and his first against Florida, allowed five hits and one run and threw only 90 pitches.

Tom Gordon pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances, and his first since being sidelined Aug. 12 by a strained right shoulder.

"We need to win a couple more," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Giants 4, Padres 0

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