Howard plays hero in Phillies' walkoff win
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Ryan Howard didn’t bother to kid himself – or anyone else. He knows he’s struggled at the plate lately.
“For me, it’s been a timing issue,” Howard admitted. The Phillies slugger is hitting .208 with 10 home runs this season since coming off the disabled list. “It’s kind of been in between – start too late, start too early. Gotta find a happy place.”
Before the ninth inning of Sunday’s game, Howard was clearly unable to locate that happy place. Until his final at-bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Howard had managed just three hits in his last 28 at-bats. He also had 16 strikeouts over that span.
With the scored tied, the bases loaded and one out, Howard stepped to the plate with a chance to win the game and the series for the Phillies. That’s exactly what happened when Howard ripped a line drive to right field to score Juan Pierre and push the Phillies to a 5-4 walkoff victory (see Instant Replay)
“It wasn’t the best game for me at the plate, but I wanted to win the game. I wanted to be in that situation,” said Howard, who went 1 for 5 on Sunday.
“It feels good,” Howard added.
Howard – who talked about his swing with Charlie Manuel after Saturday’s win over the Diamondbacks – said he wasn’t surprised that Arizona’s outfielders were playing him so deep on Sunday.
“I didn’t care where they were playing as long as the ball fell,” Howard said. “I didn’t even care about getting a hit. I just wanted to get something to the outfield – a sac fly, whatever.”E-mail John Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org