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Howard kept up his torrid hitting against the Dodgers. He had a two-run double in the series opener and drove in Philadelphia's only run with a solo homer in Game 2. In the next two games, Howard got key hits in the first inning to give the Phillies early leads. There was a two-run triple in Game 3 and a two-run homer in Game 4.
A slimmed-down Howard -- he dropped 40 pounds last offseason -- showed off his new speed, hustling around the bases for that triple and sliding headfirst into third -- one of his two dives in the game.
The 2006 NL MVP finished the regular season with a .279 average and 45 homers, and his 141 RBIs tied Milwaukee's Prince Fielder for most in the majors. He became the fourth player to have four straight seasons with 45 homers and 130 RBIs, joining Babe Ruth (seven), Ken Griffey Jr. (four) and Sammy Sosa (four).
For some reason, the Dodgers didn't intentionally walk Howard in the series after giving Albert Pujols three free passes in their sweep of St. Louis in the division series.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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