Four years ago, Craig Biggio sent Billy Wagner’s offering into the left field seats, diminishing the Phillies’ Wild Card hopes. The Astros completing a four game sweep isn’t as devastating, but it is still tough to take in.
J.A Happ was a late scratch due to a mild oblique strain suffered during batting practice. Jamie Moyer was penciled in, but the short notice worked to his advantage. Moyer pitched six innings, giving up two runs, three hits and one walk. The only damage came on Hunter Pence’s 413-foot blast. Beat that, Ryan Howard.
Howard’s RBI single gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead before Pence’s bomb. Next, Howard hit an estimated 445-foot opposite field moonshot. Howard and Raul Ibanez went back-to-back. It was Ibanez’s second home run in 123 at-bats. The Phillies led 3-2 headed into the seventh.
In a crucial situation in the sixth inning, Charlie Manuel opted to leave Moyer in, even though Michael Bourn was on base. Moyer escaped the jam, something Chan Ho Park failed to do an inning later. Miguel Tejada and Pence hit back-to-back doubles, tying the game at three. Park, who normally does not walk many batters, walked three in a row (one intentional), bringing home the go-ahead run. Manuel waited too long to make the call to Scott Eyre, who ended the inning without further trouble.
The Phillies were lucky it wasn’t worse. But once again, the offense wasn’t able to do much. They were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. The small ball in the first inning worked, thanks to Shane Victorino’s steal and Howard’s single. If they do more of this, they’ll see themselves putting up more runs.
Since 2004, the Astros have given the Phillies trouble. They are 24-11, the highest winning percentage (.686) of any National League club against the Phillies. The last time the Astros swept the Phillies in a four game series was September 6-9, 1999. It must not be a good time to face the ‘Stros.