Roy Halladay, as he pitches his 50th complete game, wins his 150th career game as he outduels the Astros’ Ray Oswalt, as the Phils defeat the Astros’ 2-1. The Phils, now 5-1, are off to their best start since 1993, when they started that pennant season with an 8-1 start.
The Phils took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as, on the second pitch of the game, Jimmy Rollins hits a solo home run, his first home run of the season. The Phils would make it 2-0 in the second as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, knocking in Raul Ibanez, who had earlier doubled and had gone to third on Shane Victorino’s single, while Victorino, who had earlier singled, moved up to second base. The game then became a pitchers’ duel between the Phils’ Roy Halladay and the Astros’ Roy Oswalt, with Oswalt giving up no more runs before leaving the game in the sixth, having given up two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out eight Phils, while Halladay, through five, gave up only three hits while striking out five Astros. The Astros then threathen in the sixth as they loaded up the bases on singles to pinch hitter Chris Johnson and Michael Bourn, with Johnson moving up to second base, and an error to third base by Halladay on a bunt attempt by Jeff Keppinger, allowing Johnson to reach third, while Bourn moved up to second on the throw to third, with nobody out. But the next batter, Cory Sullivan then hits into a 6-3 double play, forcing out Keppinger at second base, while Johnson scored, making it a 2-1 Phils’ lead, while Bourn moved up to third, where he would stay as the next batter, Carlos Lee, pops up to Rollins for the final out of the inning. The Astros then threathen again in the seventh, as they put runners on second and third, with one man out, via singles to Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz, with Blum moving up to second base on Feliz’s hit, and then with both man moving up a base on Kazuo Matsui’s sacrifice bunt, 2-4, for the inning’s first out. But Halladay then turned the Astros back by getting J.R. Towles to bounce back to the pitcher, 1-3, for the inning’s second out, and then striking out pinch hitter Jason Michaels, swinging. That would be the last threat as Halladay gets Feliz to end the game in the bottom of the ninth with a pop up to Chase Utley for the final out.
Roy Halladay picks up the win as he pitches a complete game, giving up an unearned run on seven hits, as he strikes out eight. His record is now 2-0 with a reduced ERA of 0.56. Roy Oswalt took the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks, while he strikes out eight. His record is now 0-2 with an ERA of 3.75. Jeff Fulchino, Tim Byrdak and Brandon Lyon combine for three shut out innings, giving up only one hit (Fulchino), while striking out two Phils (Fulchino and Byrdak, one each).
The Phils’ offense had only six hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins leading the team with two hits, a solo home run and a single, knocking in a run. Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Roy Halladay had the other foru Phils’ hits, with Utley and Ibanez’s hits being doubles. Carlos Ruiz knocked in the other Phils’ run with an RBI ground out.
The Phils (5-1, 1st East) start a six games home stand with a three games series against the Nationals (3-3, 4th East). The first game of the three-games set, being played at Citizens Bank Park, is already in progress. The Phils send to the mound Cole Hamels (1-0, 3.60), who is coming off a win against these same Nats on April 7, as he pitched five innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on five hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Phils’ 8-4 win. He hopes to improve on that outing, giving the Phils a chance to win their home opener. He will be opposed by Jason Marquis (0-1, 13.50), who is coming off a lost to the Phils, also on April 7, as he lasted only four innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out only two, in the Nats’ 8-4 lost. He hopes to do better against this same Phils squad. The Phils plan to win their home opener, and to increase their winning streak to four games.
The Phils’ magic number is now down to one as their offense wakes up long enough to defeat the Astros, 7-4, while the Marlins hold on to defeat the Braves. The Phils will be looking to clinch their third straight NL Eastern Division title tonight behind veteran pitcher Pedro Martinez.
The Astros took an early 1-0 lead in the third as, with two men out, Lance Berkman hits a solo home run, his twenty-fifth home run of the season. The Phils would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the third as, with one man on, and with one man out, Jimmy Rollins hits an RBI double, knocking in Paul Bako, who had earlier walked, and had moved up to second on Phils’ starter J.A. Happ’s sacrifice bunt. The Phils then took the lead in the fourth as, with the bases loaded, via singles by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, and a walk to Jayson Werth, which sent Howard to third and Ibanez to second, with nobody out, Pedro Feliz hits a grand slam home run, his twelfth home run of the season, his seventh career grand slam, and the eleventh grand slam hit by the Phils this season, making it a 5-1 Phils’ lead. The Astros would get a run back in the fifth as, with two men on, and with one man out, Carlos Lee hits an RBI single, knocking in Miguel Tejada, who had earlier singled, and had moved up to second when Berkman reached base on catcher’s interference, cutting the Phils’ lead to 5-2, while sending Berkman, who had went to first on catcher’s interference, moved up to second. The Phils increased their lead in their half of the fifth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Werth hits a two-run home run, his thirty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. In the sixth, the Astros would get those two runs back as, with a man on, and with two outs, Kazuo Matsui hits a two-run home run, his ninth home run of the season, scoring J.R. Towles, who had earlier doubled, making it a 7-4 Phils’ lead. But that would be the final score, as Jamie Moyer would come in to hold down the fort for an inning and a third, and then Ryan Madson would come in to pitch for two innings, recording his tenth save of the season, as he struck out Hunter Pence to end the game.
J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched five and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on nine hits and a walk, while striking out six. His record is now 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA. Jamie Moyer recorded his first hold as he pitched an inning and a third of scoreless relief, giving up only a walk, while he struck out one. Ryan Madson collected his tenth save of the year as he pitched two innings of shut out ball, giving up just two hits, as he struck out two. Wilton Lopez took the lost as he pitched three and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks, as he struck out two. His record is now 0-1 with a 9.42 ERA. Wesley Wright pitched one and a third innings, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk, while he struck out two. Chad Paronto, Jeff Fulchino and Samuel Gervacio combined to keep the Phils off the board for three innings, giving up only one hit (Paronto), while striking out two batters (Fulchino (1), Gervacio (1)).
The Phils had eight hits in the game, with both Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth leading the way with two hits each, with one of Rollins’ hits being an RBI double, while one of Werth’s hits was a two-run home run. Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz and Paul Bako had the other four Phils’ hits, with Feliz’s hit being a grand slam home run, which put the Phils ahead for good. The Phils’ offense will be trying to break the game open early tonight to finally end the pennant race.
The Phils (91-66, 1st East) continue their four-game set with the Astros (73-84, 5th Central) with a night game. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.32), who is coming off a neck injury. His last start was a lost against the Braves on September 19, when he went only three innings because of tightness in his neck, as he gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out one, in the Phils’ 6-4 lost. Martinez will be trying to pitch the Phils into the playoffs tonight. The Astros will counter with Brian Moehler (8-11, 5.21), who is coming off a lost against the Reds on September 25, as he pitched two and a third innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out only two, in the Astros’ 10-4 lost. He will try to hold off the clinching party for at least one more night. The Phils will be trying to clinch their third straight NL Eastern Division crown tonight, so that they can use the final four games to set things up for the Divisional Series.
The Phillies’ offense would come up short in the ninth inning as they lose to the Houston Astros, 4-3, wasting a good effort by Adam Eaton. The Phils would score first, as Pat Burrell hits a solo home run off of Astros’ starter Brandon Backe in the second inning, his twelfth home run of the year. That would be the score until the bottom of the fifth inning, as Eaton and Backe would keep both teams quiet, Backe with his slow curve and Eaton with generally good pitching. But then, in the Astros’ fifth, Eaton would give up a solo shot to Hunter Pence, for his sixth home run of the year, tying the score at one. The Astros would later threathen to take the lead by getting two men on base with one out, but Eaton would get out of the inning by getting Michael Bourn to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The score would remain tie until the bottom of the seventh, when Pence, leading off the inning, would hit a 3-0 fastball out of the ballpark for his second home run of the night off of Eaton, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. The Astros would then increase their lead to 3-1 on a Bourn single, scoring J.R. Towles, who has earlier singled. The Astros would add another run in the eighth when Carlos Lee hit a sacrifice fly off of Ryan Madson, scoring Lance Berkman, who has earlier tripled. The Phillies would try to rally back in the ninth against Astros’ closer Jose Valverde. Burrell would start the rally off with a double to center field. After moving to third on a ground out, Burrell would score on a line drive single by Pedro Feliz off of Valverde’s face, making the score 4-2 Astros. After the Astros’ trainer have taken several minutes to look Valverde over to make sure that he could continue to pitch, Carlos Ruiz would hit a single, moving Feliz to second base. After Eric Bruntlett goes in to pinch run for Ruiz, Valverde would strike out pinch hitter Chris Coste for the second out. Jimmy Rollins would then hit a line drive double, scoring Feliz and sending Bruntlett, who had to dive to get out of the way of Rollins’ line drive, to third, making the score 4-3 Houston. With two men in scoring position and two out, Shane Victorino would come to the plate. After getting the count full, Victorino would hit a fly ball to center field, ending the ballgame, as Valverde is able to nail down his fifteenth save of the year.
Adam Eaton would take the lost, as he pitches seven innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. His record drops to 0-3, with a ERA of 5.37. Eaton by now must be wondering what he has to do to actually win a ballgame. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning in relief, giving up an earned run on one hit. Brandon Backe would pick up the win for the Astros, as he would go seven and one-third innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits. Doug Brocail would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits as he snuffs out a Phillies’ rally in the eighth, leaving the bases loaded. Jose Valverde, in spite of being hit in the face by a line drive, would record his fifteenth save of the season as he pitches one inning, giving up two earned runs on four hits.
Despite the lost, the Phillies are still one and a half games behind the Marlins, as the fish loses their game with the Giants. They are still technically tied for second place with the Braves, .002 percentage points behind them, as the Braves were crushed in their game with the Diamondbacks. The Phils and the Braves are still leading the Mets by three games, as the Mets loses their game with the Rockies in extra-innings.
The Phillies (27-23) will continue their four games series with the Astros (28-23, 3rd National League Central) at Minute Maid Park. The game will start tonight at 7:05 pm Eastern (6:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter will by Brett Myers (2-5, 5.76), who is coming off another lost, as he pitched six innings against the Nationals on May 19, in the Phils’ 4-0 lost, giving up only three runs on eight hits. Myers has lost four of his last five starts, with a no-decision in his other start. He’ll be looking to improve on his last start while trying to improve his record. In his previous start against the Astros, he would go seven innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, as he picks up the win in the Phils’ 10-2 win. The Astros will send to the mound Brian Moehler (1-1, 4.76), who is coming off a lost to the Chicago Cubs on May 19, where he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Astros’ 7-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record in what could be his last start in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who should be coming off the disabled list next week.
The Phils’ offense hopes to continue what they were doing on Wednesday and Thursday nights, where they scored nineteen runs on thirty hits. Although they got ten hits in last night’s game, they were only able to score three runs, thanks mainly to the slow curveballs that were being served up to them by Backe. They hope not to have similar problems with Moehler tonight.