Houston at Philadelphia

Scoreboard
Houston (73-85)110100000381
Philadelphia (92-66) «10042120x1091

Phillies rout Astros, clinch three-peat in NL East

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

PHILADELPHIA -- Players doused each other with champagne and beer in the clubhouse and on the field. Fans partied in the stands. Manager Charlie Manuel enjoyed the celebration from his office.

The Philadelphia Phillies won another NL East championship. Now they can rest and prepare to defend their World Series title.

"I'll celebrate when we get to the big one," Manuel said.

Kyle Kendrick pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Pedro Martinez and the Phillies beat the Houston Astros 10-3 on Wednesday night to clinch their third consecutive division crown.

Raul Ibanez hit his career-high 34th home run and Jimmy Rollins had a double and triple for Philadelphia, which is heading to the postseason for the third consecutive year for the first time since Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and crew won three consecutive NL East titles from 1976-78.

The Phillies are trying to become the first repeat champions since the New York Yankees won three consecutive World Series from 1998-2000. The Cincinnati Reds were the last NL team to repeat in 1975-76.

"You having fun?" All-Star second baseman Chase Utley asked fans who stayed for the party. "There's gonna be a lot more coming."

J.R. Towles, a career .187 hitter (43 for 230), hit a pair of solo home runs off Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner. But the Astros couldn't spoil Philadelphia's party.

Kendrick (3-1) gave up two hits and struck out four. Martinez lasted just four innings, allowing three runs and six hits in his first start since a neck strain forced him out of a game at Atlanta on Sept. 19. Brad Lidge, who has 11 blown saves after a perfect season last year, came in to get the last out after Scott Eyre retired the first two batters in the ninth.

"I was praying I'd get into the game," said Lidge, who got a nice ovation when he entered. "I'm thankful to Charlie for putting me in. Despite my season, Charlie had my back all year."

Astros starter Brian Moehler (8-12) gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.

A crowd of 45,207 -- the 38th consecutive sellout at Citizens Bank Park -- waved their white-and-red "Fightin' Phils" rally towels throughout the night and made the atmosphere festive.

Celebrations are becoming common for the Phillies, who used to be the NL's laughingstock. The losingest team in professional sports has been thinking dynasty since winning the franchise's second championship in 126 years last October.

"We didn't assume but we expected. There's a difference between the two," pitcher J.A. Happ said. "There's a whole lot more coming up, when we return."

Unlike the last two years, the Phillies didn't sweat out this division title. They moved into first place for good on May 30 and have spent 136 days atop the standings.

In 2007, the Phillies trailed the Mets by seven games with 17 remaining. They took advantage of New York's historic collapse and clinched the division on the final day of the regular season, ending a 14-year postseason drought.

Players and fans had a wild celebration and Philadelphia was promptly swept by Colorado in the division series.

Last year, the Phillies were 3½ games behind the Mets with 17 to play. They caught them during the final week and clinched on the next-to-last day of the regular season.

With four games left this year, Manuel has a chance to rest his regulars and set up his postseason pitching rotation. The Phillies still have a chance to secure home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. They entered the night 1½ games behind Los Angeles.

"I feel like this was a little harder than the others because all year people were saying how good we are, but we've had pitching problems all season," Manuel said.

Midway during the celebration, the team jogged together to the outfield wall and poured champagne on the sign that honors late broadcaster Harry Kalas. The Hall of Fame announcer died in April after nearly 40 years with the team.

Martinez, who is 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts, struggled from the start. He walked Hunter Pence to force in a run in the first and gave up home runs to Towles in the second and fourth.

Towles' drive to left-center in the second was initially ruled a double, but umpires changed the call after reviewing the video. He easily cleared the left-field wall his next time up to give the Astros a 3-1 lead.

But the Phillies answered with four runs in the bottom half. Shane Victorino singled and stole second before Utley walked. Ryan Howard followed with an RBI single. Utley scored when Ibanez hit a bouncer to the mound and Moehler threw it into center field for an error. Howard advanced to third and Ibanez ended up on second.

Jayson Werth's RBI groundout put the Phillies ahead for good. Pedro Feliz doubled in another run to make it 5-3.

Rollins and Victorino hit back-to-back triples to start Philadelphia's fifth. Ibanez's sacrifice fly made it 7-3.

Notes

  • The Phillies are 31-11 at home since July 1. They were 13-22 the first two months.
  • Houston's Miguel Tejada extended his hitting streak to 17 games.
  • Ibanez hit 33 home runs for Seattle in 2006.
 
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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With a third consecutive division crown, the Phils are on a roll not seen in Philly since the '70s.  (Getty Images)
With a third consecutive division crown, the Phils are on a roll not seen in Philly since the '70s. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Houston

J. Towles
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
Philadelphia

R. Ibanez
AB 2
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5000011 .287
Miguel Tejada, SS5120001 .312
Lance Berkman, 1B5010012 .270
Carlos Lee, LF4020000 .303
Geoff Blum, 3B4010016 .249
Hunter Pence, RF3001122 .285
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3000104 .252
J.R. Towles, C4222011 .182
    Chris Coste, C0000000 .225
Brian Moehler, P1000000 .024
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .250
   a- Chris Johnson, PH1000000 .091
    Sammy Gervacio, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .000
   b- Darin Erstad, PH1000001 .191
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Totals3638326  
a-grounded out for Wright in the 6th
b-lined out for Byrdak in the 8th
Batting
2B - Carlos Lee (34, P. Martinez)
HR - J.R. Towles 2 (2, P. Martinez, P. Martinez)
RBI - Hunter Pence (72), J.R. Towles 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Hunter Pence (30)
SB - Michael Bourn (61, 2nd base off P. Martinez/Ruiz)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Hunter Pence 1
DP - Blum-Matsui-Berkman
E - Brian Moehler (1, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler (L,8-12) 4.1677310 5.47
Wesley Wright 0.2000000 5.88
Sammy Gervacio 1211010 2.29
Tim Byrdak 1122201 3.32
Jose Valverde 1000100 2.04
IBB - Howard by Brian Moehler
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 73-45, Wesley Wright 3-2, Sammy Gervacio 12-8, Tim Byrdak 21-8, Jose Valverde 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 6-6, Jose Valverde 1-2
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 22, Wesley Wright 2, Sammy Gervacio 4, Tim Byrdak 6, Jose Valverde 4
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4220100 .250
Shane Victorino, CF4221001 .293
Chase Utley, 2B3101101 .285
Ryan Howard, 1B2211200 .276
Raul Ibanez, LF2213100 .275
Jayson Werth, RF3001102 .267
Pedro Feliz, 3B4121001 .267
Carlos Ruiz, C4011011 .253
Pedro Martinez, P1000000 .071
   a- Greg Dobbs, PH1000001 .257
    Kyle Kendrick, P1000010 .286
    Chad Durbin, P0000000 .143
   b- Andy Tracy, PH1000000 .400
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals30109962  
a-popped out for P. Martinez in the 4th
b-grounded out for Durbin in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jimmy Rollins (43, Moehler), Pedro Feliz (29, Moehler), Carlos Ruiz (25, Gervacio)
3B - Jimmy Rollins (5, Moehler), Shane Victorino (13, Moehler)
HR - Raul Ibanez (34, Byrdak)
SF - Raul Ibanez (5)
SH - Shane Victorino (4)
RBI - Shane Victorino (61), Chase Utley (93), Ryan Howard (138), Raul Ibanez 3 (92), Jayson Werth (97), Pedro Feliz (80), Carlos Ruiz (43)
2-OUT RBI - Raul Ibanez 2 (28)
SB - Shane Victorino (25, 2nd base off Moehler/Towles)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Pedro Feliz (15, Throwing)
Philadelphia Phillies
Pedro Martinez 4633122 3.63
Kyle Kendrick (W,3-1) 3200040 2.66
Chad Durbin 1000100 4.52
Scott Eyre 0.2000000 1.57
Brad Lidge 0.1000000 7.34
HBP - Moehler (by Pedro Martinez)
Pitches-Strikes - Pedro Martinez 84-54, Kyle Kendrick 52-34, Chad Durbin 17-9, Scott Eyre 6-3, Brad Lidge 1-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Pedro Martinez 4-6, Kyle Kendrick 4-2, Chad Durbin 1-2, Brad Lidge 1-0
Batters Faced - Pedro Martinez 20, Kyle Kendrick 12, Chad Durbin 4, Scott Eyre 2, Brad Lidge 1
Game Information
Attendance - 45207
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Mark Carlson