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Howard's slow start doesn't concern Manuel

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard had a rough afternoon before singling in the ninth inning Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies' first baseman had struck out three times in his first four at-bats. Even with the single, he is hitting .167 (4-for-24) with three RBIs, two walks and eight strikeouts in six games. He is still looking for his first extra-base hit.

"I think a lot of guys come out sometimes, you play two or three games, and if you don't hit a home run or don't have too many hits, I think all of a sudden, you start trying too hard," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think he put together a good at-bat in the ninth inning. I think he'll be fine."

Michael Young's double in the fifth was the Phils' first extra-base hit from their No. 4 or No. 5 hitters in the first week of the season.

"We're going to score runs," Manuel said. "That's just the way it goes sometimes. We ended up scoring eight runs. If you score eight runs, you usually win the game."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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