Houston at Philadelphia

Scoreboard
Houston «400000000461
Philadelphia000000201391

Astros pounce early, hold on to take wild-card lead

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

PHILADELPHIA -- Andy Pettitte's foot swelled, Morgan Ensberg's hand was wrapped and Lance Berkman wore ice packs around both knees.

Battered and bruised, the Houston Astros are alone atop the NL wild-card standings -- for now.

Pettitte pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, and Berkman hit a three-run homer to lead Houston past the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Monday night.

The Astros moved a half-game ahead of Philadelphia and one game ahead of Florida with their 10th consecutive win over the Phillies. Washington is 1½ games behind Houston, while the New York Mets trail by three games.

"It was a good win for us," said Pettitte, who left in the sixth because his left foot had swelled to the point where he was having trouble pushing off the mound.

Brett Myers' grounder up the middle in the third hit Pettitte's foot, but the left-hander stayed in a few more innings. Pettitte isn't expected to miss his next start.

Ensberg left the game with a bruised right hand after striking out in the fifth. He was hit by a pitch in the third inning, but X-rays on the hand were negative and he's day to day.

Pettitte (14-9) allowed three hits, struck out five and walked none. Dan Wheeler escaped a jam with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his 33rd save, although he made things interesting before getting the final out.

Kenny Lofton, who led off the ninth with an infield single, scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-3 with two outs. Lidge then walked Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins doubled into the right-field corner to put runners on second and third. Lidge struck out pinch-hitter Endy Chavez to end the game.

"We had a chance at the end, but couldn't get it done," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Berkman's drive in the first off Myers (12-7) gave Pettitte all the runs he needed. Pettitte lowered his ERA to 2.42 and has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 straight starts. He has given up one run or less in 11 of those outings.

"He's pitched very, very good for us," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "I'm surprised his control has been better than most guys in their first year after surgery."

Pettitte, who had elbow surgery on Aug. 24, 2004, left after Jason Michaels doubled in the sixth, but Chad Qualls retired Bobby Abreu on a slow grounder on his first pitch to end the inning.

The Phillies cut it to 4-1 on an RBI single by Mike Lieberthal off Qualls in the seventh. Tomas Perez then singled to load the bases and chase Qualls with one out. Mike Gallo entered and struck out pinch-hitter Howard. But Gallo walked Rollins to force in the second run.

Wheeler relieved and retired pinch-hitter Michael Tucker on a hard grounder to second to leave the bases full.

A fielding error by third baseman David Bell allowed Willy Taveras to reach safely to start the game. Taveras stole second and scored when Ensberg singled to left after Craig Biggio walked.

Berkman followed with a liner deep into the right-field seats, giving the Astros a 4-0 lead. It was Berkman's 17th homer and the third straight game he's connected.

"We know it's an important series and they know it's important," Berkman said. "A lot of times you can get to a guy before he settles in and gets his good control. A lot of times that's how you beat a good pitcher, get to him early."

Myers allowed four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in seven innings. He struck out six and retired the last 10 batters he faced.

"I was trying to keep us in the game so we can rally," Myers said. "We showed a lot of heart coming back."

Notes

  • The Phillies haven't beaten the Astros since a 3-1 victory in Houston on May 18, 2003.
  • Rollins has a 12-game hitting streak and Lieberthal has hit in 10 straight.
  • Taveras got his major league-leading 64th infield hit.
  • Ensberg's RBI gave him 96 this season, a team record for third basemen. Sean Berry had 95 in 1996.
  • Phillies closer Billy Wagner faced his former team for the first time, pitching a scoreless ninth.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Lance Berkman's three-run homer in the first inning puts the host Phillies in an early hole.  (AP)
Lance Berkman's three-run homer in the first inning puts the host Phillies in an early hole. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Houston

M. Ensberg
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5110023 .289
Craig Biggio, 2B3100113 .267
Morgan Ensberg, 3B2111010 .278
    Eric Bruntlett, 3B1000000 .190
Lance Berkman, 1B4113010 .294
Jason Lane, RF4000021 .259
Luke Scott, LF4000011 .182
Adam Everett, SS4010000 .249
Brad Ausmus, C3010100 .260
Andy Pettitte, P1010000 .100
    Chad Qualls, P1000010 .000
    Mike Gallo, P0000000 .000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   a- Jose Vizcaino, PH1000012 .257
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals3346421010 
a-struck out for Wheeler in the 9th
Batting
HR - Lance Berkman (17, Myers)
SH - Andy Pettitte (13)
RBI - Morgan Ensberg (96), Lance Berkman 3 (61)
SB - Willy Taveras (32, 2nd base off Myers/Lieberthal), Adam Everett (19, 2nd base off Wagner/Lieberthal)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Adam Everett (10, Wild throw)
Houston Astros
Andy Pettitte (W,14-9) 5.2300050 2.42
Chad Qualls 0.2422000 3.41
Mike Gallo (H,6) 0.1000110 2.81
Dan Wheeler (H,15) 1.1000000 1.72
Brad Lidge (S,33) 1211110 2.37
WP - Brad Lidge (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 86-59, Chad Qualls 17-14, Mike Gallo 14-8, Dan Wheeler 18-13, Brad Lidge 29-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 6-6, Chad Qualls 1-1, Dan Wheeler 1-3, Brad Lidge 1-1
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 20, Chad Qualls 6, Mike Gallo 2, Dan Wheeler 4, Brad Lidge 6
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4011111 .261
Jason Michaels, CF3020010 .315
   a- Michael Tucker, PH1000003 .239
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .500
   b- Endy Chavez, PH1000012 .214
Bobby Abreu, RF4000012 .292
Pat Burrell, LF4000011 .280
Chase Utley, 2B4110011 .287
David Bell, 3B4110000 .246
Mike Lieberthal, C3011000 .254
   c- Kenny Lofton, PH1110000 .311
Tomas Perez, 1B3010000 .250
    Shane Victorino, PR-CF1000001 .000
Brett Myers, P2010000 .130
   d- Ryan Howard, PH-1B1000113 .283
    Matt Kata, PR0000000 .200
Totals363922714 
a-grounded out for Michaels in the 7th
b-struck out for Wagner in the 9th
c-singled for Lieberthal in the 9th
d-struck out for Myers in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jimmy Rollins (23, Lidge), Jason Michaels (16, Pettitte)
RBI - Jimmy Rollins (37), Mike Lieberthal (39)
2-OUT RBI - Jimmy Rollins (18)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - David Bell (18, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Brett Myers (L,12-7) 7543161 3.53
Ryan Madson 1000010 3.23
Billy Wagner 1100130 1.57
HBP - Ensberg (by Brett Myers)
Pitches-Strikes - Brett Myers 100-69, Ryan Madson 12-8, Billy Wagner 22-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brett Myers 8-8, Ryan Madson 1-1
Batters Faced - Brett Myers 29, Ryan Madson 3, Billy Wagner 5
Game Information
Attendance - 36144
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Larry Poncino, Third Base - Paul Nauert