PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With the bases loaded, Ryan Howard knew he was going to get a pitch to hit. It was just a matter of waiting for the right one.
Howard hit a grand slam, capping a five-run rally in the eighth inning that lifted the Philadelphia Phillies over the Houston Astros 6-5 on Thursday night.
"I knew going in he was going to bury some sliders and I had to keep off the sliders," Howard said. "Bases loaded, I knew at some point he had to give me something to hit. He's got to give me a strike."
Chris Carter hit two homers and drove in four runs for Houston, which lost its eighth straight in Philadelphia.
"This was a pretty tough loss," Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Carlos Ruiz and Ben Revere each had two hits as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep.
Mario Hollands (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 30 chances.
Howard connected with two outs on a full-count pitch from Tony Sipp (2-2).
"The matchup was what we wanted," Porter said. "He beat the best guy we have down there."
Marc Krauss also homered for Houston.
Philadelphia trailed 5-1 entering the eighth after Colin McHugh threw seven strong innings for the Astros.
Houston reliever Josh Fields gave up hits to three of the four batters he faced, including Cody Asche's RBI single that made it 5-2.
Sipp allowed a single to Jimmy Rollins to load the bases with one out. After Chase Utley flied out, Howard homered into the seats in left-center field.
"I hit it pretty flush," Howard said. "I got it pretty good. Off the bat, yeah, I pretty much knew. But that wind started kicking up a little bit. I was happy it was enough."
Howard pointed to his family after crossing home plate and then took a curtain call. It was the third homer and 11th RBI in 12 games since manager Ryne Sandberg benched the struggling slugger for three games, July 23-25.
Howard has endured boos and some negative reaction to comments he had made regarding the treatment he has received.
"It's unfortunate, to be honest with you, that that's what happens," Howard said. "But I'm going to go out there and continue to play. I understand what it takes to play the game. It wasn't there early, but I just needed it to be there once and it was there for me, so I'm going to try to build off that."
Howard also drove in the winning run in the Phillies' 2-1, 15-inning win over Houston on Tuesday.
Sipp and the Astros weren't able to keep him down this week.
"I hold myself to a high standard, so I have to make sure it doesn't happen again," Sipp said.
Carter hit his second homer of the game and 24th of the season, a two-run drive in the third. He leads the majors with 11 home runs since the start of July.
Astros: Reliever Josh Zeid had the first of two foot operations on his right foot on Wednesday, and the Astros deemed it successful. Zeid will have the same surgery on his left foot in six weeks. The right-hander appeared in 23 games this season with a 6.79 ERA in 20 2/3 innings. He last pitched on July 24. ... Outfielder George Springer will rejoin the Astros in Houston on Friday, but his status will be evaluated prior to the game. He was on pace to be activated from the DL (quadriceps), but his return is in question after he left Wednesday's rehab start at Single-A Quad Cities because of discomfort.
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