PHILADELPHIA -- The Orioles had bashed 12 home runs in 31 innings against the Phillies when Ryan Howard stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
He returned the favor when he hit a two-out, two-run home run to right field to give the Phillies the lead in a 2-1 victory.
It snapped the Phils' nine-game losing streak, which was their longest since an 11-game skid in September 1999.
"I mean, nobody comes to the field every day to lose," Howard said. "Everybody comes with a positive attitude. We're trying to go out there and do what we need to do to win and we haven't been able to come through. Today, take it, savor it and try to bring it back and do it again tomorrow."
Howard had hit .303 (33-for-109) with seven doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 21 RBIs and a 1.011 OPS in 30 games from April 21 through May 23, but he had hit just .151 (11-for-73) with five doubles, one homer, five RBIs and a .442 OPS in 20 games since.
So this home run felt good, especially considering the circumstances.
"[Orioles pitcher Bud Norris] left a fastball kind of middle in and was able to catch up to it," Howard said. "Threw me one early in the count and then came back with it again. Was able to just catch up to it."
Overall, Howard is hitting .236 with 15 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs, 30 RBIs with a .747 OPS. He could be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, although it will be difficult because of one significant stumbling block: money. The Phillies would have to fork over the vast majority of the remaining money on Howard's deal to move him. That includes a little more than half of the $25 million remaining on his contract this season, $25 million next season, plus a $10 million buyout on a club option for 2017.
"I mean, it's what the situation is," Howard said about the organization trying to rebuild for contention no earlier than 2017. "You've got to understand, I guess, what it is they're trying to do. You understand the situation you're in. But like I said, you've got to come with the mindset of being positive and just try to continue to go out and compete every single day."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.