Series: Game 1 of 3

Houston leads 1-0 (as of 8/17)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 17
Game 2: Wednesday, August 18
Game 3: Thursday, August 19

Astros 5

(58-60, 29-29 away)

Phillies 0

(59-60, 30-31 home)

    7:05 PM ET, August 17, 2004

    Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 000500000 5 8 0
    PHI 000000000 0 5 0

    W: R. Oswalt (13-8)

    L: R. Wolf (5-8)

    Oswalt allows five hits to win fifth straight

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Once Roy Oswalt stopped trying to overthrow, the Philadelphia Phillies' hitters had little chance.

    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 season.

    "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."

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press