Oswalt and two relievers combined on a five-hitter, and Raul
Chavez hit a three-run double in the Houston Astros' 5-0 victory
over the free-falling Phillies on Tuesday night.
Oswalt (13-8) allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked two
in 7 2-3 innings to win his fifth straight decision. Mike Gallo got
one out in the eighth, and Dan Miceli pitched a perfect ninth for
the Astros' third win in nine games -- and their 10th shutout this
"Pitching on five days' rest, I was trying to throw too hard,"
Oswalt said. "I was all over the place. After the third inning, I
got in a rhythm."
The Phillies, who came in five games behind San Francisco in the
NL wild-card race, were shut out for the fourth time and fell to
1-7 on their current homestand. At 59-60, Philadelphia is under
.500 for the first time since May 7.
"I've stayed up too many nights trying to analyze this
offense," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "They're playing
hard. They're just not hitting."
Phillies starter Randy Wolf (5-8) retired eight in a row before
running into trouble in the fourth.
Craig Biggio and Carlos Beltran started the inning with
consecutive doubles to make it 1-0. After Jeff Bagwell flied out,
Lance Berkman walked. Jeff Kent doubled to score Beltran, giving
Houston a 2-0 lead.
Morgan Ensberg walked to load the bases and Jose Vizcaino's
grounder to third forced Berkman out at the plate. But Chavez, who
had 12 RBI in 107 previous at-bats, cleared the bases with a liner
down the right-field line.
"I was trying to put the ball in play," Chavez said. "He
threw me a fastball away and I made good contact."
The Phillies got just one runner to third base -- in the sixth --
but Mike Lieberthal popped out to shortstop with runners on first
and third to end the inning, earning a loud chorus of boos from
fans who have turned on the struggling former All-Star catcher.
"Everyone is frustrated," Lieberthal said. "It's nice to get
guys back in the lineup, but right now it's tough."
Wolf allowed five runs and six hits in seven innings, losing for
the fifth time in nine starts.
"It's been my problem lately, one bad inning where I can't stop
the bleeding," Wolf said. "I'm just not getting the job done."
Phillies LF Jason Michaels' bat flew into the stands after
he missed a swing with two outs in the ninth, hitting Astros
manager Phil Garner's wife, Carol, in the right arm. Carol Garner,
seated a few rows behind Houston's dugout, wasn't injured, and
joked about the incident after the game. ... Phillies 1B Jim Thome
returned to the lineup after missing two games with a shoulder
injury, and went 0-for-3. 3B David Bell was back after sitting out
a week with back spasms, and finished 1-for-3. ... Wolf, who hit
two homers in a win against the Rockies last week, was 0-for-2. ...
Oswalt is 56-25 in his brief career. ... A crowd of 43,716 gave the
Phillies 36 sellouts in 61 games at their new ballpark. ... The
Astros are 29-29 on the road, 29-31 at home. ... Astros lefty Andy
Pettitte had his next start pushed back two days to Saturday
because of a sore left elbow.