Howard's RBI streak sets playoff mark

Howard's RBI streak sets mark

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard has already produced one record-setting RBI streak and he's within one game of matching a record that Lou Gehrig set in 1932.

With his first-inning two-run triple off Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night, Howard propelled the Phillies toward an 11-0 win and became the first player in Major League history to record an RBI in seven consecutive playoff games in the same year.

"He couldn't pick a better time to hit good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's outstanding. Keep it up."

Howard can now turn his focus toward Gehrig, who holds the all-time record for consecutive postseason games with an RBI. The legendary Yankees first baseman recorded an RBI in eight consecutive playoff games that spanned from 1928-32.

Howard is now tied with Bill Skowron (1958-60) and Clyde Barnhart (1925-27) as the only Major Leaguers to record an RBI in seven consecutive postseason games.

"I just kind of gathered [last year's playoff] experience of just being more relaxed, going up there and being loose and having fun playing the game," said Howard, who holds the Phillies postseason record with 22 RBIs.

Howard has set the single-season record while recording an RBI during each of the seven playoff games the Phillies have played this season. During those seven games, the All-Star first baseman has hit .385 (10-for-26) with one homer and 12 RBIs.

During his record-setting streak, Gehrig hit .536 (15-for-28) with seven homers and 17 RBIs.

Ryan's ribbie roll
Ryan Howard became the first hitter in history to drive in a run in seven consecutive games in one postseason.
Gms Player Year
7 Ryan Howard, PHI 2009
6 Ivan Rodriguez, FLA 2003
6 Bernie Williams, NYY 1999
6 CarltonFisk, BOS 1975

"Ryan is a lot of fun to watch," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "We don't have the power-hitting Ryan Howard right now. But we've got the one that's a great hitter right now."

When he drilled the fifth pitch he saw from Kuroda into the right-field corner, Howard set himself apart from Carlton Fisk (1975), Bernie Williams (1996) and Pudge Rodriguez (2003), who stand as the only three players who have recorded an RBI in six consecutive games of the same playoff season.

More importantly, with his first career postseason triple, Howard helped knock Kuroda out after just 1 1/3 innings and vaulted the Phillies toward their goal of becoming the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the 2000 Yankees.

So what was the Phillies' big first baseman thinking before he thundered to the ground with his first-inning slide into third base?

Consecutive postseason games with RBI
Ryan Howard is tied for the second-longest postseason RBI streak over multiple years.
Games Player Years
8 Lou Gehrig, NYY 1928-32
7 Ryan Howard, PHI 2009
7 Moose Skowron, NYY 1958-60
7 Clyde Barnhart 1925-27

"Full-out panic going around second base," Howard said. "No, I mean, it was a lot of fun. I saw where the ball was. I saw where [Andre] Ethier was. It was one of those things where I had to make my mind up if this is going to happen or not. So once I hit second, it was pretty much going full bore."

While Howard will never be recognized for his speed or grace, there's no doubt that he's on pace to be one of the game's best run producers. Dating back to the beginning of the 2006 season, he has totaled a Major League-best 572 RBIs. Albert Pujols ranks second with 491 RBIs during that span.

"Ryan is just a big-time player," Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth said. "He drives in a ton of runs every year. He always comes on late in the year. If you're going to pick a good time to pick it up, going down the stretch and into the playoffs is the time to do it."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.