Blanton plus homers blast Cardinals

August 2, 2008 7:54:09 PM PDT
Joe Blanton won his first game since joining the Philadelphia Phillies in a mid-July trade, riding home runs from Ryan Howard and Greg Dobbs to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night. Dobbs, who leads the majors with 20 pinch hits, hit his fourth home run of the season on the first pitch of the third inning from Braden Looper (10-9). Howard hit his 31st for his National League-leading 96th RBI with two outs in the fourth.

The NL East-leading Phillies have homered in 11 straight games, totaling 19, and have won six of seven.

Howard, who is from the St. Louis suburb of Wildwood, also walked three times and is 12-for-27 (.444) against the Cardinals this season with six homers, 15 RBIs and eight walks. For his career, he's batting .363 against St. Louis with 12 homers and 32 RBIs.

Ryan Ludwick homered for the third time in two games, his 26th overall, for the Cardinals. The drive landed in Big Mac Land, the third deck in left, and was estimated at 427 feet.

Blanton (1-0) allowed four hits in seven innings and all five of his strikeouts came on called third strikes. He's 6-12 overall with the Phillies and Athletics, and had been saddled with a 6.65 ERA in his previous 12 outings while going 3-6.

Chad Durbin got Joe Mather on a double-play ball to end the eighth and Brad Lidge finished for his 27th save in 27 chances and extend his franchise record to 30 in a row dating to Sept. 25, 2007, at Cincinnati.

The Phillies are 49-0 when leading after eight innings and Lidge took care of the heart of the St. Louis order, working around a two-out walk to Troy Glaus and a wild pitch on his first delivery to pinch hitter Rick Ankiel before finishing him off with a strikeout.

Notes: Looper is 2-6 with a 5.53 ERA against the Phillies, two of the losses coming this season. ... Ludwick is 12-for-23 (.522) with three homers in his last six games, including two homers in the opener of a three-game series on Friday.