Rehabbing a strained quad, Howard played his first of two games with the BlueClaws this week before he rejoins the Phillies Friday in Atlanta.
Howard's seventh inning homerun was his 20th as a BlueClaw, putting him second on the team's all-time homerun list. Juan Richardson is the Lakewood career leader with 22 homeruns. Howard's four RBI moved him into a tie on the team's all-time list with 91 RBI. Howard is tied for the RBI lead with Randy Ruiz.
Darren Byrd pitched into the 7th inning and allowed just one earned run. Garet Hill threw 1.2 innings and improved to 3-1 on the season. Ronald Hill got his 8th save of the season. Jason Donald and Howard each had RBI doubles in the 3rd inning which tied the game at two. Howard's homerun gave Lakewood a 6-3 lead, and P.J. Antoniato added an RBI single in the 7th.
The BlueClaws are now 23-20 on the season and are in the midst of a season-high four game win streak, including winning the first three games of the four-game series.
Howard will continue his rehab on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. in the final game of the four-game series. RHP Edgar Garcia (1-2, 3.60) opposes RHP Don Levinski (0-1, 18.90).
Meanwhile, playing without injured slugger Ryan Howard seems to have finally caught up to the Phillies.
Over the past five games, the Phillies have mustered 17 runs, and their bats have gone silent for long stretches. They tallied five hits in a loss Thursday to Milwaukee, three in a win Friday night against Toronto and four in Saturday night's loss to the Blue Jays.
In the opener of a three-game series Tuesday at Florida, they notched three runs on two homers by reserve right fielder Jayson Werth and got little else in a 5-3 loss.
"We're a different team when Howard's in the lineup, even when he's not hitting," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Just his presence, it picks us up offensively."
Until Howard returns Friday, the Phillies say they need to keep swinging.
"We're all looking forward to getting the big guy back, but we need to go out and play with the 25 guys we've got right now," center fielder Aaron Rowand said. "He's just an added piece, albeit he's a pretty big piece."
Notes From Philly: