Howard's 11th-inning homer leads Phillies past Indians 4-3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Ryan Howard is going deep and the Phillies are on a hot streak.
That was a recipe for October success in Howard's heyday.
Long removed from World Series contention, it's a combination these days that simply has Philadelphia off to a surprising start.
Howard led off the 11th inning with a home run, leading Philadelphia to a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Howard's homer on a full count off Cody Allen (0-3) was his fifth of the season and sixth career game-ending shot.
The Phillies have won seven of eight and have looked little this season like a team picked to finish last in the NL East.
''I'm having a blast,'' Howard said. ''There's a different energy and all that began in spring training.''
David Hernandez (1-1) struck out four in two innings of relief for the win. Five Phillies pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts and the bullpen pitched six scoreless innings and struck out 11.
Jason Kipnis hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who struck out 14 times against four Phillies pitchers through nine innings. Hernandez struck out the side in the 10th to keep the Ks going.
The Indians lost for the third time this week on a game-ending hit, twice against Allen.
''I put myself in a bad spot. I didn't want to walk him,'' Allen said. ''I've given up walk-offs before. It's all part of the game.''
Maybe it seemed fitting that on the night Pearl Jam cranked out top tunes from its peak across the street at the Wells Fargo Center, the Phillies turned back the clock and revisited their own greatest hits in the fifth:
Howard and Carlos Ruiz gave Phillies fans an October flashback with consecutive doubles that made it 3-2. Howard, the much maligned and longest-tenured Phillie, singled and doubled in his first two at-bats to boost his .185 average.
Howard and Ruiz are the only Phillies left from the 2008 World Series championship team that once made a ticket at Citizens Bank Park the toughest in town. The holdovers played Friday in front of just a few thousand fans on a chilly night that whipped around those glory days pennants in left-center much in the same manner fans would twirl rally towels during another postseason run.
The Phillies tied the game 3-all in the fifth and had chance to go ahead in the sixth with a runner on second and two outs.
But reality seemed to hit that it's 2016 and not `08 - Howard whiffed in the clutch against Indians starter Corey Kluber to end the threat. He also grounded out with a runner on in the ninth.
Howard, though, still has that dangerous pop in his bat.
''I think you savor it at any moment of your career,'' Howard said.
Coming off a three-game sweep at Washington, the Phillies (13-10) are three games over .500 for the first time since Sept. 21, 2012.
Philadelphia's fifth-inning rally took starter Adam Morgan off the hook. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out a career-high seven in five innings.
He gave up all three runs in the fifth when Kipnis hit a two-run shot to right for his third of the season. The lefty-swinging Kipnis went deep against Morgan, the first lefty starter this season for the Phillies.
Kluber, the 2014 Cy Young Award winner, allowed five hits and struck out six in seven innings.
''I don't think I had too much working tonight,'' he said.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin had the pitcher batting eighth for the eighth straight game. RF Peter Bourjos, who went 1 for 4 and is hitting .167, batted ninth. ''I have to bat him eighth,'' Mackanin said. ''We're locked in and we're winning games.''
Phillies pitchers struck out 18 batters, the most since they had 19 on May 30, 2014, in a 14-inning game against the Mets. The Phillies lead MLB in strikeouts with 240. Their overall scoreless streak ended at 26 innings.
Indians: RHP Tommy Hunter was activated from the 15-day DL following a minor league rehab stint with Triple-A Columbus. Hunter, who has not pitched in his first season with Cleveland, was 1-1 with a save in eight games. Hunter, 46-33 with a 4.31 ERA over an eight-year career, signed a one-year free-agent deal in February. He had offseason hernia surgery.
Phillies: RHP Michael Mariot, who opened the season on the 15-day DL with a strained right ankle, started a rehab assignment with Class-A Clearwater.
Cleveland sends Trevor Bauer (1-0, 4.76 ERA) to the mound against Philadelphia RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-3, 4.07). The 25-year-old Bauer is scheduled to make his first start of the season. He made 30 starts last season but was moved to the bullpen this year.