Ryan Howard, J.A. Happ keep Phillies winning

ATLANTA - Ryan Howard drove in the first run in Philadelphia's four-run first inning, and rookie J.A. Happ pitched six scoreless innings to help the Phillies earn their season-high sixth straight win, 6-1 over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

Howard, bidding to win his second NL MVP award in three years, now has 29 RBIs in his last 21 games and 137 this season to lead the majors.

Philadelphia began the night with a one-half game lead over New York in the NL East.

Happ (1-0) allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two in his fourth career start and first since getting no decision July 9 in Philadelphia's 4-2 win over St. Louis.