Phillies 6, Braves 2: Ryan Howard homered for the third straight game and Kyle Kendrick tossed 6 2/3 solid innings as host Philadelphia continued its late surge toward a postseason berth.
Carlos Ruiz followed Howard's fourth-inning blast with one of his own and Kevin Frandsen and Chase Utley also went deep for the Phillies, who won their fourth straight and 12th in 15 outings to move within three games of St. Louis in the race for the National League's second wild card. The Cardinals dropped a 5-4 decision in 11 innings to the Chicago Cubs earlier on Friday.
Jose Constanza had an RBI single and Martin Prado and Dan Uggla collected two hits apiece for the Braves, who fell for just the second time in seven outings but remained 5 1/2 games behind National League East-leading Washington. The Nationals suffered a 4-2 setback to Milwaukee on Friday.
After belting three homers in his previous 33 games, Howard went deep for the third straight contest after depositing a curveball from Tommy Hanson (12-9) into the Phillies' bullpen past the wall in right-center field. The slugger's 13th homer this season was the 299th of his career.
Kendrick (10-11) improved to 7-1 in his career against the Braves after allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six. Two relievers bridged the gap to Jonathan Papelbon, who retired the side in the ninth inning in a non-save situation.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Howard has belted 150 of his 299 career homers in Philadelphia. ... Hanson, who hasn't registered a win since July 30, yielded five runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings to take the loss. ... The Braves have won 10 of the 16 meetings between the NL East rivals.