With one out and the bases loaded, via two walks from closer Brad Lidge and a Chris Coste good-to-see-you-again single, the Phillies were about to narrowly escape with a win after Ryan Howard fielded a ground ball and threw home for the force out preventing the tying run from scoring.
But the Phillies comeback just wasn’t meant to be.
With the bases still full, the Astros’ Kaz Matsui delivered a two-run, game winning single, while Brad Lidge delivered the Phillies his tenth blown save of the season. Final score, 5-4 in favor of the Astros.
Because Chase Utley sat with a swollen foot, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had to find other means to revive a flat-lined offense. With his choices limited, Manuel juggled the line-up a bit, batting Shane Victorino lead-off, Jayson Werth in the two-hole, and Jimmy Rollins third in the order. Although the switch-up didn’t help Victorino or Werth’s recent struggles, it did get the offense moving in the right direction.
For the most part, Astros starter Roy Oswalt had the Phillies line-up tied in knots. Oswalt struck out eight in 6.1 innings before finishing the contest early with tightness in his lower back. Oswalt had held the Phillies off of the board to that point, but left the game responsible for two runners on in the seventh inning which both scored.
After getting on the board in the seventh off of Astros reliever Tim Byrdak, the Phillies tied the game in the eighth when Jimmy Rollins scored on a Ryan Howard triple. Pedro Feliz singled Ryan Howard home to give the Phils the lead.
The offense still looked shaky, but was able manufacture four runs, breaking a scoreless streak that started Thursday when they beat the San Francisco Giants 2-1.
Phillies starter Joe Blanton had yet another quality start, going six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, while striking out five. Blanton didn’t look crisp, but kept the game close enough for the Phillies to claw back.
Chan Ho Park pitched a scoreless seventh, and Brett Myers returned to action, recording the hold, by pitching a scoreless eighth. Myers looked amped up on adrenaline as he walked the first batter he faced and fell behind the second batter Carlos Lee 2-0, before getting him to fly out.
A Marlins win over the Nationals this evening puts the Fish just 6.5 games back on the Phillies. Meanwhile, the Braves lost to Cincinnati and remain 8.5 out in the division.