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.