Houston at Philadelphia

W: C. Qualls (5-4) L: B. Wagner (4-3)
S: B. Lidge (35)
HR: HOU - L. Berkman (18), M. Lamb (8), C. Biggio (20)   PHI - R. Howard (15), B. Abreu (23)

Biggio's blast caps Astros' sweep of reeling Phillies

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

PHILADELPHIA -- Craig Biggio learned enough from watching Billy Wagner pitch to know how to beat his former teammate.

Biggio hit a three-run homer off Wagner with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Houston Astros completed a three-game sweep with an 8-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.

Houston, which has a one-game lead over Florida in the NL wild-card race, won its 12th straight over Philadelphia. The free-falling Phillies fell 2½ games behind with their fifth straight loss.

"That's the first time I've ever faced Billy," Biggio said of his close friend and teammate for eight years in Houston. "He threw me a fastball in, then inside again. The last pitch was 99 mph, so I could have popped it up."

Bobby Abreu hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth, and pinch-hitter Shane Victorino gave the Phillies a short-lived lead with an RBI single, his first major-league hit in more than two years.

Wagner (4-3) retired the first two batters in the ninth before Jose Vizcaino reached on third baseman David Bell's fielding error. Willy Taveras beat out an infield single to shortstop, and Biggio followed with a drive into the left-field seats for his 20th homer.

"I tried to get it up, but that's his zone," Wagner said. "You have to make sure it's up enough."

Making matters worse for Philadelphia's All-Star closer, Biggio just signed a jersey for Wagner's son.

"Here you go, son, here's a jersey from the guy who just homered off your dad," said Wagner, who got the loss for the second straight game after not facing Houston the first nine times the teams met since he was traded to Philadelphia in 2003.

Chad Qualls (5-4) got the final two outs in the eighth. Brad Lidge finished for his 35th save.

Light-hitting Mike Lamb hit a three-run homer and Lance Berkman hit a solo shot for Houston.

The Phillies rallied in the eighth against Dan Wheeler. Pinch-hitter Jason Michaels walked to start the inning. After Chase Utley sent Taveras to the center-field wall on a flyout, Abreu hit a drive deep into the Phillies' bullpen in center field to tie it at 5. The normally low-key Abreu shouted at his teammates in the dugout on his way to first base and slowly jogged around the bases.

Pat Burrell followed with a walk, and Howard doubled to put runners on second and third. Endy Chavez ran for Burrell, and Bell was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Qualls entered and got pinch-hitter Michael Tucker on a grounder to first base that forced Chavez at the plate. But Victorino lined the next pitch to right to score Howard. Bell was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Jason Lane.

It was Victorino's first hit in the majors since May 14, 2003.

Despite the Phillies being in the playoff chase, only 29,026 turned out at Citizens Bank Park. Most fans spent the first seven innings voicing their displeasure with the Phillies. They booed manager Charlie Manuel when he walked out to the mound for a pitching change, chanted "E-A-G-L-E-S" randomly throughout the game and jeered whoever failed to deliver in clutch spots.

Abreu got a standing ovation when he came through in a crucial spot, but the team left the field to a chorus of boos.

"This is a hard loss," Manuel said. "We had it and we gave it away. We have to get our act together and start winning games."

Before connecting off Vicente Padilla in the sixth, Lamb was hitting just .208. He hadn't gone deep since Aug. 2.

Berkman walked to start the inning and went to third on Lane's double. Lamb then lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his eighth homer, giving Houston a 5-3 lead.

Padilla allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, one of his poorest outings since the All-Star break. The right-hander has been Philadelphia's most consistent starter since early July. Since nearly being pulled from the rotation and almost losing his roster spot after starting 3-8 with a 6.69 ERA, Padilla was 5-4 with a 2.60 ERA in his previous 11 starts.

Howard gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the second on his 15th homer, a liner into the seats in right-center field. The slugging first baseman filling in for the injured Jim Thome leads NL rookies with 15 homers, even though he spent most of the first three months in Triple-A.

Utley's fielder's choice grounder scored Jimmy Rollins to make it 3-1 in the third.

Berkman gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the second with his 18th homer and fifth in seven games. Houston cut it to 3-2 in the fourth on a fielder's choice grounder by Adam Everett.

Brandon Backe, making his first start since July 23 after being sidelined with a strained left ribcage, allowed three runs and three hits in four innings.

"Wagner's tough. We all know how good he is," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "We just buckled down."


  • Astros 3B Morgan Ensberg missed his second straight game with a bruised hand. He was hit by a pitch Monday night.
  • Rollins extended his career-best hitting streak to 14 games.
  • Thome spent a few innings in the Phillies' television broadcast booth. He plans to return to Florida to after this 10-game homestand concludes next week.
Copyright 2017 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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Houston's Mike Lamb crosses the plate after his three-run homer in the sixth inning.  (AP)
Houston's Mike Lamb crosses the plate after his three-run homer in the sixth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game

C. Biggio
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1

R. Howard
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1

Related Video

Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5130010 .292
Craig Biggio, 2B5113002 .266
Luke Scott, LF5000022 .156
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Lance Berkman, 1B3321100 .294
Jason Lane, RF4110011 .259
Mike Lamb, 3B3113100 .210
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Charles Gipson, LF0000000 .000
Adam Everett, SS3001110 .248
Brad Ausmus, C4010012 .258
Brandon Backe, P1000000 .263
   a- Chris Burke, PH1000000 .245
    Wandy Rodriguez, P0000000 .156
   b- Humberto Quintero, PH1000001 .189
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Mike Gallo, P0000000 .000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Jose Vizcaino, 3B1000000 .260
    Eric Bruntlett, PR-3B0100000 .190
a-flied out for Backe in the 5th
b-grounded into a double play for Rodriguez in the 6th
2B - Lance Berkman (32, Padilla), Jason Lane (29, Padilla)
HR - Craig Biggio (20, Wagner), Lance Berkman (18, Padilla), Mike Lamb (8, Padilla)
RBI - Craig Biggio 3 (56), Lance Berkman (62), Mike Lamb 3 (44), Adam Everett (48)
2-OUT RBI - Craig Biggio 3 (24)
SB - Willy Taveras (33, 2nd base off Padilla/Lieberthal)
Team LOB - 4
Outfield Assists - Jason Lane 1
Houston Astros
Brandon Backe 4333341 4.99
Wandy Rodriguez 1100000 5.80
Russ Springer (H,10) 1.2100010 4.80
Mike Gallo (H,7) 0.1000000 2.76
Dan Wheeler (BS,2) 0.1233301 2.14
Chad Qualls (W,5-4) 0.2100000 3.38
Brad Lidge (S,35) 1000020 2.29
IBB - Bell by Dan Wheeler
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 71-41, Wandy Rodriguez 12-6, Russ Springer 29-19, Mike Gallo 1-1, Dan Wheeler 27-10, Chad Qualls 2-2, Brad Lidge 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 3-4, Russ Springer 1-3, Mike Gallo 1-0, Chad Qualls 1-0, Brad Lidge 1-0
Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 17, Wandy Rodriguez 4, Russ Springer 6, Mike Gallo 1, Dan Wheeler 6, Chad Qualls 2, Brad Lidge 3
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5130000 .264
Kenny Lofton, CF2000101 .309
   a- Jason Michaels, PH-LF1100110 .314
Chase Utley, 2B5001012 .281
Bobby Abreu, RF3112110 .292
Pat Burrell, LF2100222 .278
    Endy Chavez, PR-CF0000000 .214
Ryan Howard, 1B4232010 .290
David Bell, 3B3000101 .244
Mike Lieberthal, C3000000 .252
   b- Michael Tucker, PH1000003 .237
    Todd Pratt, C0000000 .259
Vicente Padilla, P2000010 .167
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
   c- Tomas Perez, PH1000000 .247
    Ugueth Urbina, P0000000 .000
   d- Shane Victorino, PH1011000 .333
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .500
a-walked for Lofton in the 8th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Lieberthal in the 8th
c-popped out for Madson in the 7th
d-singled for Urbina in the 8th
2B - Jimmy Rollins (24, Backe), Ryan Howard (11, Wheeler)
HR - Bobby Abreu (23, Wheeler), Ryan Howard (15, Backe)
RBI - Chase Utley (82), Bobby Abreu 2 (88), Ryan Howard 2 (42), Shane Victorino (1)
2-OUT RBI - Shane Victorino (1)
SB - Jimmy Rollins (30, 3rd base off Backe/Ausmus)
CS - Jimmy Rollins (6, 2nd base by Backe/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Bell-Utley-Howard
E - David Bell (19, Misplayed grounder)
Philadelphia Phillies
Vicente Padilla 5.1755352 4.67
Ryan Madson 1.2000010 3.16
Ugueth Urbina 1000000 3.54
Billy Wagner (BS,3; L,4-3) 1230001 1.66
Pitches-Strikes - Vicente Padilla 101-65, Ryan Madson 13-11, Ugueth Urbina 5-4, Billy Wagner 16-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Vicente Padilla 6-5, Ryan Madson 3-0, Billy Wagner 2-2
Batters Faced - Vicente Padilla 26, Ryan Madson 4, Ugueth Urbina 3, Billy Wagner 6
Game Information
Attendance - 29026
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Larry Poncino, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Gary Darling