Astros Finally Support Myers In 3-2 Win Over Phillies

Brett Myers takes the hill to begin a four-game set with the streaking Phillies, who have gone 19-4 at home since July 8.

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Lee Singles Astros To Victory Over Phillies

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Carlos Lee’s two-run single off Ryan Madson in the eighth inning lifted Houston to a 3-2 win over Philadelphia and gave Brett Myers a win against his former club in a wet evening at Citizens Bank Park.

Myers (9-7), who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Phillies before leaving as a free agent this past offseason, lasted seven frames to tie a club record by pitching at least six innings in 26 consecutive starts. The right-hander fanned nine and gave up two runs on nine hits and a walk.

Michael Bourn had three hits, two steals and two runs scored for the Astros, winners of two straight following a 2-4 stretch.

Madson (4-2) was unable to hold the lead behind Joe Blanton, who gave up one run on six hits and no walks to go with a season-high nine strikeouts in seven frames for the Phillies, who fell three games behind Atlanta for the National League East Division lead but stayed in front in the Wild Card race.

Carlos Ruiz hit a solo homer in defeat, the club’s third in five games.

Madson relieved Blanton to start the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Jason Michaels. Bourn then bunted one down the first-base line and avoided Ryan Howard’s tag by pivoting to his right and narrowly staying inside the base line, according to first base umpire Greg Gibson.

Angel Sanchez moved both runners up with a sacrifice bunt, and, after Hunter Pence struck out, Lee hit an inside pitch off of his fists, breaking his bat as the ball drifted into left field to score Michaels and Bourn.

After Tim Byrdak threw a scoreless eighth, Brandon Lyon walked Ruiz to start the ninth. Both Wilson Valdez and pinch-hitter Placido Polanco failed to move the runner up with a popped up bunt and flyout to center, respectively.

Ben Francisco, pinch-running for Ruiz, stole second with Jimmy Rollins at the plate, but Lyon got Rollins to hit a low liner to left that Michaels caught on the run, finishing off the closer’s seventh save of the season.

Bourn led off the game with a single, stole second, moved to third on Sanchez’s base hit and scored on Pence’s sacrifice fly. The Astros had a chance for more in the inning thanks to Lee’s double to right-center, but a relay throw from Shane Victorino to Chase Utley to Ruiz resulted in Sanchez getting thrown out at the plate.

Myers quickly retired the first six batters he faced, striking out four, but got too much of the plate with a fastball to Ruiz to start the third, resulting in his former battery mate’s sixth home run of the season.

Blanton and Rollins each added one-out singles later in the frame before Brett Wallace fielded Victorino’s sharp grounder at first and came home with the throw to nab Blanton. That play left runners on the corners, and Utley’s base hit up the middle plated Rollins for a 2-1 lead.

The pitchers took over from there in a rain-soaked opener of the four-game series. Blanton retired 10 straight after the first inning, and Myers got Victorino to ground into an inning-ending double play with two runners on in the seventh to end another efficient outing.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was ejected in the eighth for arguing that Bourn stepped out of the base line on his bunt attempt…Larry Dierker was the only other Astros pitcher to last at least six innings in 26 straight starts, having done it from June 20, 1969-April 17, 1970…Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth hit his 42nd double in the sixth inning but was picked off at second base by Astros catcher Humberto Quintero following an intentional walk to Ruiz.

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Astros Open Four-Game Series With Phillies At Citizens Bank Park

(Sports Network) - An outstanding recent stretch has the Philadelphia Phillies in position for a possible fourth consecutive trip to the postseason. You can bet Brett Myers will be determined to stop that roll from continuing.

Myers will face his former team for the first time in an opposing uniform when the veteran hurler leads the Astros into Citizens Bank Park tonight for the opener of a four-game series with the red-hot Phillies.

A first-round selection by Philadelphia in the 1999 draft, Myers spent his first eight major league seasons with the Phillies and won 10 or more games five times during his tenure there. The team opted not to re-sign the right- hander following an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, however, with Myers instead inking a one-year deal with the Astros in January.

The move has paid dividends for Houston, as Myers has been both durable and consistent this season. The 30-year-old has posted a solid 3.11 earned run average over his 25 starts in 2010 and pitched at least six innings in every one of those outings, one shy of a club record set by Larry Dierker between June 20, 1969-April 17, 1970.

Myers was sharp once again in a home start against the New York Mets last Wednesday, yielding just two runs over seven frames in a no-decision. Five days earlier, he limited Pittsburgh to one run and struck out seven in seven innings despite not factoring in the final outcome of that contest as well.

During his time in Philadelphia, Myers compiled a 27-27 record with a 4.10 ERA in 96 appearances (67 starts) at Citizens Bank Park. He's just 2-7 on the road this year, however, and 11 of his 14 home runs allowed have come in visiting venues.

Myers will be taking on a Phillies squad that's won six of its last eight games and has amassed a stellar 19-4 record at home since July 8. The two-time reigning National League Champions are 4-2 thus far on a 10-game residency and come into this series off Sunday's 6-0 blanking of Washington.

A longtime Astro led the way for Philadelphia in yesterday's triumph, with ex- Houston ace Roy Oswalt surrendering just five hits and fanning eight Nationals hitters over the first seven innings. The three-time All-Star was making his fifth start since being acquired by the Astros in a blockbuster trade just prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

"My mechanics have been a lot better and the ball has been coming out cleaner than when I first got here," said Oswalt, who improved to 3-1 as a member of the Phillies. "The guys got me a few runs early and it makes things a lot easier on me when they do that."

Placido Polanco knocked in runs in both the first and third innings to stake Oswalt to an early lead and finished 2-for-3 for Philadelphia. Wilson Valdez added a two-RBI single later on before Raul Ibanez tacked on a two-run homer in the seventh to close out the scoring.

The win gives the Phillies a two-game advantage on both St. Louis and San Francisco for the lead in the NL Wild Card race, while the team remained 2 1/2 games back of first-place Atlanta in the NL East standings after the Braves defeated the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

Joe Blanton will attempt to keep Philadelphia winning when he opposes Myers in tonight's opener. The Phils have prevailed in four of the right-hander's last five starts, with Blanton having registered two victories and three no- decisions during that time period.

He was able to pick up a win in his last mound trip after holding San Francisco to two runs over 6 1/3 innings this past Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. The effort improved Blanton to 4-2 in 11 home starts this season.

The 29-year-old has also never lost in two previous encounters with the Astros, having gone 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in those games. The no-decision took place in Houston last September, with Blanton reached for three runs in six innings while matched up against Oswalt.

The Astros are in the midst of a 10-game road trip and dropped the first two tests of the trek before edging Florida by a 2-1 count on Sunday, with Hunter Pence's solo homer in the top of the eighth inning providing the difference.

Pence also drove in Houston's other run of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly that plated Michael Bourn, who collected two of the team's five hits for the game. His homer made a winner out of Wilton Lopez after the reliever tossed two scoreless innings upon taking over for starter Nelson Figueroa.

Figueroa, who began the season with the Phillies before being waived last month, gave up just one run on four hits and struck out seven over a six- inning, 98-pitch stint.

"If I throw 95 pitches that means I'm doing my job and keeping us in the ball game," Figueroa said afterward. "It was good to get rolling in the heat and try and make the innings as quick as possible."

Houston won six of eight meetings with the Phillies in 2009, but was swept by Philadelphia in a three-game set at Minute Maid Park back in April.

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