After enduring his second-longest home run drought of the season, Ryan Howard wasn't expecting anything big at the plate.
After all, most of the balls he'd hit lately ended up in someone's glove.
But that changed against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Phillies' lead over San Francisco in the wild-card race remained 1-1/2 games, while the Dodgers fell 6-1/2 back with their third
loss in four games.
"Three-run homers are nice. It's a good weapon,'' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We haven't done that in a while.''
Especially Howard, who had gone 13 games without a homer since July 27 at Arizona. In April, he went 15 games without one.
"I feel like I've had some good at-bats and good swings over the last five, six games,'' he said. "I was just happy to have gotten a hit.''
Howard missed 16 games in August because of a left ankle sprain, and he's still working on getting his timing back.
"He's got to get going,'' Manuel said.
Kyle Kendrick (9-7) allowed four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, walked one and failed to record a strikeout for the first time this season.
"I'm missing up and down the middle,'' he said. "I just need to finish pitches more.''
The Phils are now 34-33 on the road this season. They wrap up their series against the Dodgers Wednesday afternoon with Roy Oswalt on the mound.