Ryan Howard is off to a hot start.
It wasn't the prettiest way to get it done, but the Phillies rode out a bumpy start from Joe Blanton and overcame a Mets' rally to take the second game of the series 10-7.
Following Cole Hamels' rough start on Tuesday night, Blanton took the hill and looked as good as anyone else in the rotation, as he allowed only a pair of Mets' runs through four innings, while setting down five on strikes.
Meanwhile, the offense got off to a running start off Mike Pelfry in the bottom of the first, when Shane Victorino led the game off with a triple before scoring on a RBI groundout from Placido Polanco. Two batters later, Ryan Howard doubled to left-center and was brought home on an RBI single from Ibanez.
The Phillies were far from finished, and would add another run in the second on an RBI groundout from Victorino, before adding four more in the bottom of the third -- starting with a home run to dead center from Howard, and finished off by a two-RBI single from Blanton and and another RBI single from Polanco.
After the Mets put two on the board in the fourth courtesy of a dinger from Angel Pagan, they stormed back in the fifth on RBI singles from David Wright and Carlos Beltran to narrow the Phillies' lead to three runs. Ike Davis followed with a two-RBI double to bounce Blanton out of the game. New pitcher Antonio Bastardo (1-0) set down Josh Thole on strikes, but allowed an RBI single to Daniel Murphy to tie it at seven.
Not to be outdone, the Phillies came right back off reliever Blaine Boyer (0-1) in the bottom of the inning, starting with a two-out, check-swing double from the Flyin Hawaiian, who would then score on an RBI single from Polly. After a walk to Jimmy Rollins, Howard hit a bouncer back to Boyer, who saw the ball ricochet off his glove into the gap between first and second, where it bounced around long enough for Polanco to come around to score from second base to increase the lead to two runs.
And from there on out, it was all red pinstripes.
Ben Franciso hit his second home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the sixth, which would cap the Phillies' scoring. It was more than enough, as the 'pen kept the Mets from rallying a second time. J.C. Romero worked a scoreless frame, Ryan Madson struck out two in a perfect eighth, and closer Jose Contreras fanned one and walked one in a scoreless ninth to earn his first save of the season.
After Hamels' doozy of a start, the last thing the Phillies needed was another early departure from the starter. Unfortunately for them, Blanton, who had been cruising, got lit up in the fifth, as the Mets jumped all over pitches up in the zone.
But thanks to some great performances out of the bullpen and a big night from the offense -- especially Howard -- the Phils escaped a near disaster to even the three-game set before the rubber match on Thursday, where No. 1 ace Roy Halladay (0-0, 1.50) faces off against Jonathon Niese (0-0, 2.57).