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Party-pooping Phillies rally to edge Blue Jays

By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - The party-pooping Philadelphia Phillies rallied in the ninth inning to edge the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 on Friday in front of a raucous, near-capacity crowd celebrating the start of the Canada Day holiday weekend.

The shot from Howard also helped take some pressure off the offense of the major league-leading Phillies, who entered the game having topped six runs in a game twice in two weeks.

"This is what we're capable of doing but at the same time you have to realize baseball is an up and down game," Howard told reporters.

"As long as you can outscore your opponent, that's the name of the game and it doesn't matter how many runs you get."

The Blue Jays, wearing their Canada Day red jerseys, took a one-run lead into the ninth inning after Jose Bautista launched a two-run shot to left field in the seventh. But the Toronto bullpen proved no match for the Phillies.

MAJOR-LEAGUE LEAD

Bautista's homer tied him with New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira for the major-league lead at 25.

Toronto starting pitcher Ricky Romero, who entered Friday's contest having gone nine consecutive games of seven innings or more, left after allowing four runs in 6-1/3 innings along with three strikeouts and four walks.

"I didn't come through with the shutdown inning, usually I've been pretty good with that," said Romero. "Today was just an uphill battle for me all day and I couldn't really get into a rhythm all day."

The Phillies tightened their grip on the National League East division to four-and-a-half games while the Blue Jays fell to 10 games back in the American League East.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)