PHILADELPHIA -- One at-bat after launching his 44th homer of the season on Thursday night against the Braves, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard struck out.

It was notable because the lefty slugger whiffed for the 196th time this season, setting a Major League record. Cincinnati's Adam Dunn set the previous mark of 195 in 2004.

Howard went down swinging in the second inning on a nasty 87-mph splitter by 40-year-old veteran righty John Smoltz.

Howard, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, has struck out 36 times in September.

"I don't even think about [strikeouts]," Howard said on Wednesday. "We're winning ballgames, and that's all that matters."