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Howard's big night powers Phils past Rockies

DENVER -- Ryan Howard crunched a 454-foot home run among his three hits as the Phillies won for the seventh time in eight games, 4-2, over the Rockies at Coors Field on a chilly Wednesday night.

Howard's third-inning blast accounted for one of the four runs (two earned) and six hits against Rockies starter Eddie Butler (2-5), who was gone after three innings. Butler was chased in 2 2/3 innings of his previous start, against the Dodgers.

"He's having good swings," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Howard. "He crushed that ball to center tonight. There was no help at all on that."

Phillies starter Severino Gonzalez (2-1) held the Rockies to one run on five hits in five innings.

From highlight to low-light: Butler retired the first two batters he faced before giving up two singles. Butler ranged right and barehanded Maikel Franco's bouncer, but his off-balance throw bounced between the legs of first baseman Wilin Rosario, and two runs scored. Butler, who also bounced a pickoff throw for an error later, never recovered. More >

"I went back and looked at the video and I had a lot of time -- I could've set myself and made a good throw and gotten out of that, saved myself," Butler said. "I was a little aggravated with myself."

Video: PHI@COL: Phils strike first as Utley scores on error

Howard's power: Howard hit a home run to center field in the third inning to make it 3-0. He is averaging a home run every 3.375 games since he hit his first home run of the season April 21. If Howard can maintain that pace through the season's remaining 120 games, he would finish with 35 home runs. More >

"It would be great to get back to that kind of flow," Howard said.

Video: PHI@COL: Howard slugs a solo shot to center field

Chances snuffed: Wilin Rosario ran the Rockies out of a fourth-inning chance. He singled to left and tried to take second, but Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis cut off the throw from the outfield and threw Rosario out at second. Rockies manager Walt Weiss dialed up a hit-and-run with Ben Paulsen at first and Nick Hundley batting in the fifth. Hundley lined hard to center, but the Phillies' Odubel Herrera made a running catch, spun and doubled Paulsen off first. More >

Video: PHI@COL: Herrera doubles off runner after great catch

Gonzalez delivers: Gonzalez rejoined the Phillies' rotation following an injury to Chad Billingsley. He was pulled after throwing 65 pitches. More >

Video: PHI@COL: Gonzalez tosses five innings of one-run ball

"That was a little strange. We were joking he almost overran it and then he almost overthrew the first baseman." -- Sandberg, on Herrera's leaping catch in right-center field in the fifth, which turned into a rally-killing double play

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley returned to the No. 3 spot in the lineup after hitting sixth his previous four games. He went 2-for-4 with one walk. He is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with four doubles and three RBIs in his last five games to raise his batting average to .159. He was hitting .118 last Thursday.

The Rockies' streak of games with double figures in strikeouts ended at seven games. They were one game shy of the Major League modern (since 1900) record, owned by the 2011 Padres. The Rockies fanned just four times Wednesday.

Video: PHI@COL: Phils strike first as Utley scores on error

Phillies first-base coach Juan Samuel will miss Thursday's and Friday's games because he is attending his daughter's graduation from law school at Barry University in Orlando. Assistant hitting coach John Mizerock will be the first-base coach in his absence.


Phillies: Right-hander Jerome Williams is hoping to improve his May in Thursday's series finale against the Rockies. He has a 6.52 ERA in four starts this month, and has not pitched more than five innings in any of those starts.

Rockies: Lefty Jorge De La Rosa (1-2, 6.56 ERA) checked out healthy after suffering left groin soreness during his last start -- a scoreless 7 1/3 -inning effort against the Dodgers. He'll try to continue the roll Thursday against the Phillies at 1:10 p.m. MT.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone and listen to his podcast.