Philadelphia at Houston

W: C. Durbin (1-1) L: W. Wright (3-2)
S: B. Lidge (12)
HR: PHI - R. Howard (13), P. Burrell (11)   HOU - None

Phillies 7, Astros 5 wire reports

HOUSTON -- Brad Lidge could hardly wait to face the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. He couldn't have imagined it going any better than this.

Lidge returned to Houston on Thursday night and looked like his old, overpowering self while earning his 12th save in the Philadelphia Phillies' 7-5 victory against his former team.

But there was more to it than that.

He heard an odd mix of boos and cheers when he trotted out from the visitors' bullpen. He struck out Michael Bourn, one of the players the Astros acquired for him in a big trade last November.

And he got Lance Berkman, one of baseball's top hitters, to pop out on the first pitch for the final out.

"It was a lot of fun for me, a lot of adrenaline," Lidge said. "Coming in a situation like that, it doesn't get much better than that. That's what we play this game for, to have situations like that. It felt great."

Lidge saved 72 games in six seasons in Houston, but was traded away after blowing 14 saves over the past two. It all started with Albert Pujols' three-run homer in Game 5 of the 2005 NL Championship Series, but Lidge looked more like the dominant closer he was before that fateful hit, needing only 13 pitches Thursday night to finish off Houston.

"Ever since I got traded, it's only human nature to want to do good against your old team and face them again," Lidge said. "I guess it's official that that part of my career is over. Obviously, I have a ton of great memories in Houston, I had a lot of great things happen. But I'm in Philly now and I'm happy now."

Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard hit home runs, and Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz also drove in runs for the Phillies, who have won three in a row.

Ty Wigginton had two RBI for the Astros, who lost for the third time in their past 13 home games.

"We were in striking distance in the ninth inning and I had my big boys coming up," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "I liked my chances there and that is all you can ask for."

Burrell, pinch-hitting for Greg Dobbs, broke a 5-5 tie with a leadoff home run in the eighth off Wesley Wright (3-2). Chase Utley added an RBI single later in the inning off Tim Byrdak.

The public-address system used to blare the heavy-metal song The Game when Lidge appeared from the home bullpen. This time, Van Halen's Panama was playing.

When Lidge's name was announced, half the crowd stood and applauded, while the other half offered loud boos. Lidge said he didn't notice, another sign he's put his frustrating days in Houston behind him.

"There was a time when I was concerned about what the fans in Houston said or did," he said, "but not anymore."

The matchup all the fans were anticipating fizzled when Berkman got under a fastball off the plate.

"It's just very difficult to square the ball up against him," Berkman said. "I hit it as good as I could, but it went straight up in the air, so that did not do us a whole lot of good."

Chad Durbin (1-1) worked a scoreless seventh to earn the victory in relief. Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.

Houston starter Roy Oswalt was hit hard again, giving up five runs and 11 hits. He also gave up 11 hits in a loss to Texas on Saturday.

"I haven't been comfortable all year," said Oswalt, who is 4-4 with a 5.61 ERA. "I've had some quality starts, but I haven't gotten in that zone where I feel like I can throw a seven- or eight-inning shutout. Every inning feels like a battle."

Berkman's RBI double off the left-field scoreboard gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Berkman went 1-for-10 in three games against the Chicago Cubs earlier this week and still came into the game hitting .500 (36-for-72) in May.

Howard and Feliz led off the second with singles and Oswalt walked Geoff Jenkins to load the bases. Dobbs lined out, but Ruiz singled to score Howard.

Hunter Pence walked leading off the Astros second, went to third on Wigginton's single and scored on Brad Ausmus' sacrifice fly to put Houston ahead 2-1.

The Phillies scored three runs in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Howard and Feliz knocked in runs with hits and Howard later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jenkins.

Howard led off the fifth with a long home run onto the left-field porch, his 13th of the season, to make it 5-2.

Wigginton drove a two-run double down the left-field line in the sixth and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel replaced Kendrick with Ryan Madson.

Ausmus bunted Wigginton to third and when Geoff Blum came out to pinch-hit for Oswalt, Manuel brought in left-hander J.C. Romero. Blum singled to score Wigginton and tie it at 5.


Manuel started Dobbs in place of Burrell, who was 3-for-27 in his previous eight games. Burrell had started 47 of the Phillies' first 48 games. ... Shane Victorino made a diving catch in shallow center to grab Matsui's blooper leading off the third. ... The Phillies lead the majors with 70 home runs.

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Players of the Game

R. Howard
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 1

T. Wigginton
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0

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Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS5020004 .320
Shane Victorino, CF5120003 .263
Chase Utley, 2B4111122 .312
Ryan Howard, 1B5332022 .207
Pedro Feliz, 3B4021100 .252
Geoff Jenkins, RF2011100 .286
    Chad Durbin, P0000000 .250
    So Taguchi, LF1000001 .170
Greg Dobbs, LF3000005 .339
   a- Pat Burrell, PH1111000 .276
    Tom Gordon, P0000000 .000
   b- Chris Coste, PH1010000 .338
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Carlos Ruiz, C4011114 .239
Kyle Kendrick, P3010013 .118
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
    J.C. Romero, P0000000 .000
    Jayson Werth, RF1000001 .260
    Eric Bruntlett, PR-RF1100002 .237
a-homered for Dobbs in the 8th
b-singled for Gordon in the 9th
2B - Jimmy Rollins (11, Oswalt), Ryan Howard (6, Oswalt)
HR - Ryan Howard (13, Oswalt), Pat Burrell (11, Wright)
SF - Geoff Jenkins (2)
RBI - Chase Utley (33), Ryan Howard 2 (31), Pedro Feliz (20), Geoff Jenkins (8), Pat Burrell (33), Carlos Ruiz (14)
2-OUT RBI - Chase Utley (9)
Team LOB - 11
Philadelphia Phillies
Kyle Kendrick 5855120 5.19
Ryan Madson (H,4) 0.1000000 4.18
J.C. Romero (BS,4) 0.2100010 1.45
Chad Durbin (W,1-1) 1100000 2.08
Tom Gordon (H,9) 1000010 4.05
Brad Lidge (S,12) 1100010 0.43
HBP - Lee (by Kyle Kendrick)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Kendrick 91-57, Ryan Madson 1-1, J.C. Romero 10-7, Chad Durbin 8-6, Tom Gordon 10-8, Brad Lidge 13-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Kendrick 5-8, Ryan Madson 1-0, J.C. Romero 1-0, Chad Durbin 1-2, Brad Lidge 1-1
Batters Faced - Kyle Kendrick 25, Ryan Madson 1, J.C. Romero 3, Chad Durbin 4, Tom Gordon 3, Brad Lidge 4
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5020032 .214
Kazuo Matsui, 2B5000003 .282
Miguel Tejada, SS5110002 .337
Lance Berkman, 1B5031002 .388
Carlos Lee, LF3100003 .274
Hunter Pence, RF3210111 .289
Ty Wigginton, 3B4132010 .247
Brad Ausmus, C2001001 .210
Roy Oswalt, P1000001 .182
   a- Geoff Blum, PH1011000 .229
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Fernando Nieve, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .333
   b- Darin Erstad, PH1000000 .299
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Oswalt in the 6th
b-flied out for Byrdak in the 8th
2B - Lance Berkman 2 (18, Kendrick, Durbin), Ty Wigginton 2 (6, Kendrick, Kendrick)
SF - Brad Ausmus (1)
SH - Brad Ausmus (2), Roy Oswalt (2)
RBI - Lance Berkman (45), Ty Wigginton 2 (6), Brad Ausmus (6), Geoff Blum (14)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman (18)
SB - Michael Bourn (21, 2nd base off Kendrick/Ruiz)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Berkman-Tejada-Oswalt
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 61155241 5.61
Wesley Wright (L,3-2) 1111011 4.86
Fernando Nieve 0.1111100 6.00
Tim Byrdak 0.2100010 0.00
Oscar Villarreal 1100100 5.79
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 95-56, Wesley Wright 13-9, Fernando Nieve 10-4, Tim Byrdak 12-11, Oscar Villarreal 20-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 5-8, Fernando Nieve 1-0, Oscar Villarreal 1-2
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 30, Wesley Wright 4, Fernando Nieve 3, Tim Byrdak 3, Oscar Villarreal 5
Game Information
Attendance - 29263
Game Time - 3:07
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Jerry Crawford