Phillies Complete Sweep Over Astros, Oswalt Picks Up The Win

SB Nation Houston's coverage the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies season-opening series on April 1-3, 2011.

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Oswalt Shows What He Can Do With Run Support, Astros Swept

Final Score: Philadelphia 7, Houston 3

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Ryan Howard drove in four runs and Roy Oswalt tossed six solid innings in his first start against his former team, as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Houston Astros, 7-3, to complete a season- opening three-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park.

Howard and Ben Francisco both homered for Philadelphia, which started the season at home 3-0 for the first time since 1970.

Oswalt (1-0), who spent his first 9 1/2 seasons in an Astros uniform before being dealt to the Phillies last July, gave up two runs on five hits, walked one -- the first bases on balls issued by the Philadelphia starters this season -- and struck out six.
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The Astros are in typical season starting mode already, as they drop to 0-3. They'll try to get things on the right track as they visit Cincinnati for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night. 

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Happ Pulled From Start, Bud Norris Faces Roy Oswalt In Philly Today

(Sports Network) - Roy Oswalt gets a chance to pitch against his former team for the first time today when the Philadelphia Phillies try to complete a season-opening three-game sweep versus the Houston Astros.

The Phillies haven't swept a series at home against Houston since May 7-9, 2002, but can do so this afternoon with Oswalt on the mound instead of in left field.

During a 4-2, 16-inning loss to the Astros last August, Oswalt was thrown into playing the outfield because the Phillies were out of position players after Ryan Howard was ejected.

This time, the three-time All-Star, who spent his first 9 1/2 seasons in an Astros uniform, gets to show off his arm and what his former team may be missing.

Oswalt fashioned a 7-1 record with a 1.74 ERA in 12 starts for the Phillies. The right-hander was unstoppable down the stretch, wining his final seven decisions and having allowed one or fewer runs in eight of his starts after coming to Philadelphia.

As for the Astros, they were hoping to have the man they traded Oswalt for, left-hander J.A. Happ, on the hill this afternoon, but he has been pushed back to Tuesday due to a mildly strained right oblique.

Instead, it will be righty Bud Norris, who had an up and down 2010, ending the year 9-10 with a 4.92 ERA. Seven of his wins, though, came after the All-Star break.

"I'm excited," said Norris. "Unfortunately, J.A.'s not ready. We want to get him healthy, because we know this year we can't do it without him. Getting him some extra time is going to be huge for him, but I'm ready to go. I got my full rest. [The Phillies are] a good team, but I'm excited to get out there for my first start of the year."

On Saturday, Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco each posted two hits and two RBI in a 9-4 Phillies victory. Shane Victorino also drove in a pair, Placido Polanco tallied three hits and scored twice and Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double for the Phillies, who moved to 2-0 for the second straight season. Victorino was pulled as a precaution with a sore left calf prior to the top of the sixth and is considered day-to-day.

Making his first regular-season start for Philadelphia since October 1, 2009, Cliff Lee worked seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits while fanning 11 without walking a batter.

"He did a lot of stuff out there to get us off our game," Astros manager Brad Mills said of Lee. "Every time we adjusted to what he was throwing, he came back and re-adjusted with his cutter and kept us off-balance."

Carlos Lee finished 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBI for the Astros.

Wandy Rodriguez was pulled after four-plus frames and charged with nine hits and seven runs.

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Astros, Rodriguez Off To Their Patented Slow Start, Lose To Phillies 9-4

Final Score: Philadelphia 9, Houston 4

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco each posted two hits and two RBI as Philadelphia took down Houston, 9-4, in the second of a three-game set.

Shane Victorino also drove in a pair, Placido Polanco tallied three hits and scored twice and Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double for the Phillies, who moved to 2-0 for the second straight season.

Making his first regular-season start for Philadelphia since October 1, 2009, Cliff Lee (1-0) worked seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits while fanning 11 without walking a batter. It was his first win with the Phillies since September 15, 2009.

Carlos Lee finished 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBI for the Astros, who will try to avoid being swept in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) was pulled after four-plus frames and charged with nine hits and seven runs.

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Astros Turn To Wandy Rodriguez In Game Two Of Opening Series

(Sports Network) - The Phillies welcomed Cliff Lee back with open arms, not to mention a five-year, $120 million contract in the offseason.

The former American League Cy Young Award winner makes his official return to the team tonight when they host the Houston Astros in the second installment of a season-opening three-game series.

The second part of Philadelphia's vaunted rotation, Lee seemed completely off the Phillies' radar in the offseason, but the team literally stole him away from the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers to join a stud rotation that includes Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

In 2009, Lee led the Phillies to the World Series before a six-game loss to the New York Yankees. The crafty lefty was traded that season from Cleveland, and during his time with the Phillies he compiled a 7-4 record with a 3.39 ERA in 12 regular season games. He kicked it up a notch in the playoffs that year with a 4-0 record, including a pair of complete games and a minuscule 1.56 ERA.

Last season, Lee had a combined 12-9 record and 3.18 ERA pitching for Seattle and Texas.

He hasn't fared well against the Astros, as evidenced by an 0-2 record and 9.35 ERA in two games.

These teams opened the 2011 season yesterday in a dramatic finish, with the Phillies fashioning six singles off Brandon Lyon in the ninth inning, scoring three times in the frame for a 5-4 win. John Mayberry Jr. hit the winning single over the head of center fielder Michael Bourn.

"I saw momentum continue to build. Nobody wanted to make the last out," Mayberry said. "We're always alive until the 27th out is made.

"This is a spectacular way to start the season. no doubt."

That capped a four-run rally for the Phillies, who received six innings from reigning NL Cy Young winner Halladay.

On the other side, former Phillie Brett Myers threw seven solid innings and had a pair of singles.

"I don't know. A squirrel finds a nut every now and then. I hit it in the right spot," Myers said.

Bourn had a two-run triple in the seventh that gave Houston a four-run cushion that didn't last.

The Astros turn the ball over to Wandy Rodriguez, who starts his seventh major league season -- all with the same team. The southpaw is coming off a sub-bar 11-12 campaign in which he had a 3.60 ERA in 32 starts. He's 2-1 in five games (3 starts) with a lifetime 3.05 ERA against the Phillies.

Amazingly, the Astros had won five straight games at Citizens Bank Park prior to yesterday's collapse. Houston won four of the seven meetings last season.

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Lyon Trounced As Phillies Rally In Ninth For Opening Day Win

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – John Mayberry’s hit over the head of Astros center fielder Michael Bourn brought in the winning run, capping a ninth-inning rally the Phillies used to record a 5-4 victory in their season opener.

Philadelphia faced a 4-2 deficit entering its last at-bat, but put together a comeback against the Astros’ Brandon Lyon (0-1). All of the Phillies’ hits in the inning were singles.

Run-scoring base hits by Ben Francisco and Wilson Valdez tied the game and helped set the stage for Mayberry, who plated Francisco to get the Phillies’ season off to a good start.


The Astros will take on the Phillies tomorrow in Game two of the opening series. Wandy Rodriguez gets to take on Cliff Lee. Brett Myers turned in a stellar performance in his opening start, going seven innings and allowing just three Philadelphia hits. He also snagged a pair of singles on his own.

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Houston Astros Opening Day: Myers Returns To Old Surroundings As Astros Take On Phillies

The Houston Astros will kick off their 49th season of Major League Baseball this afternoon as they take on the reigning NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies at Citizen's Bank Park. The game will start at 12:05 CDT and be broadcast on ESPN by Sean McDonough, Aaron Boone, and (sigh) Rick Sutcliffe. 

Remember when the Astros kicked off the season last year by facing Tim Lincecum? That was fair, right? Well it only gets better this season! Brett Myers will head to the mound to make his first opening day start for the Astros, and his opposite number will be none other than reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay

The Astros will likely start a lineup close to what they did in Wednesday's exhibition against the Red Sox, which means Michael Bourn will lead off, Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee will bat 3-4, and Humberto Quintero will get the start at catcher. Angel Sanchez will be playing shortstop for Clint Barmes, who won't be due back until the end of the month after breaking a bone in his hand on a hit by pitch.

The Phillies will be down a few key cogs in their lineup, as Chase Utley and Dominic Brown will both start the year on the DL. Wilson Valdez will probably get the start at second base, while Ben Francisco will fill in for Brown in right field. Ex-Astros closer Brad Lidge is also on the DL, which means Jose Contreras will likely be the Phillies closer in the interim.

Last season, Halladay went 1-1 against the Astros with a 1.69 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 16 innings. Myers got a win in his only career start against the Phillies, going seven innings and striking out nine. 

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