Phillies get on board, in win column as big guns deliver

MIAMI -- Ryan Howard hadn't had that much fun sprinting 270 feet in a long time.

Howard came around from first base to score Philadelphia's first run in 31 innings on a triple by Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley drove in the go-ahead run and the Phillies used a pair of daring stolen bases to snap a dreadful slump and beat the Florida Marlins 3-2 on Friday night.

The Phillies hadn't scored in any of their last three games, hadn't won any of their last five, and rallied from a 2-0 deficit.

"Sometimes all it takes is just one, and just one big moment to kind of get things going," Howard said. "I think you could kind of say it was an exhale when we got that run across."

Sure was.

"Forgot what it was like," center fielder Shane Victorino said.

Philadelphia avoided becoming the first team in 18 years to be blanked four straight times, something last done by the Chicago Cubs.

The Phillies used heady baserunning to set up both the tying and go-ahead runs -- Utley decided on his own to swipe second in the fifth inning, which allowed him to score on Howard's single, while Victorino led a double steal and scored what was the game-winner on Utley's grounder in the seventh.

"Stolen bases don't equal runs," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But it did tonight."

Jorge Cantu had two hits, while Chris Coghlan and Gaby Sanchez each scored for Florida, which dropped its third straight to fall under .500 at 24-25.

Kyle Kendrick (3-2) only made one big mistake for the Phillies in six innings, and that was an errant throw to first that allowed Florida to score both of its runs. Kendrick allowed five hits and no earned runs, striking out one.

Jose Contreras allowed a pair of one-out singles in the ninth, before closing out his third save in as many chances. He struck out Cody Ross looking with a 79 mph offering, then ended it by getting Ronny Paulino to fly out to shallow center field.

"We had people on base with the right guys at the plate," Gonzalez said. "We just didn't get the knocks. That pretty much surmises it."

Howard led off the fourth with a single off Chris Volstad (3-6), and Ibanez -- hitting fifth for the first time all season, thanks to Jayson Werth getting the night off -- connected on a hard line drive to center field. The ball skipped past Cameron Maybin, rolling toward the wall and turning into a triple that gave Howard plenty of time to score from first base.

It was the break the Phillies had been waiting, oh, about a week for.

Philadelphia lost 5-0 to Boston last Saturday and 8-3 to the Red Sox the following day, getting those runs in the ninth inning after being blanked by Tim Wakefield for the first eight.

From there, the Phillies headed out to face the Mets. Their bats never showed up, and the Phils were outscored 16-0 in the series.

"You've got to stay positive, man," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before Friday's game.

It worked.

"Three runs was enough to win the game, wasn't it," Manuel said afterward.

Thanks to their leadoff hitter, and a goof by Kendrick, the Marlins opened the scoring with two runs in the third.

With two outs, Coghlan fouled off seven straight offerings in what became a 12-pitch at-bat, eventually hitting a sharp single to left. After another single, Kendrick nearly escaped when Hanley Ramirez hit a comebacker and started a slow jog to first.

But Kendrick rushed the throw, the ball sailing out of Howard's reach, and Coghlan and Sanchez scored for a 2-0 lead.

"Kind of slipped on the way out and just babied it or whatever," Kendrick said. "Just a bad throw. Totally my fault. We came back, though."

Volstad gave up seven hits and three runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Game notes
The Phillies' three steals were a season-high. ... Miami Dolphins QB Chad Henne threw out the first pitch. ... The Phillies kept Werth and Placido Polanco out of the starting lineup. Ross Gload started in right for Werth, Greg Dobbs started at third for Polanco. ... Marlins RHP Jorge Sosa, selected earlier in the day as the replacement for Dan Meyer -- who was designated for assignment -- made his first appearance in the majors since Sept. 5, for Washington against Florida.