Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

Houston won 3-0

Game 1: Tuesday, August 17
Houston5Final
Philadelphia0
Game 2: Wednesday, August 18
Houston9Final
Philadelphia8
Game 3: Thursday, August 19
Houston12Final
Philadelphia10

Astros 12

(60-60, 31-29 away)

Phillies 10

(59-62, 30-33 home)

1:05 PM ET, August 19, 2004

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

123456789 R H E
HOU 010011720 12 15 1
PHI 004030030 10 14 0

W: C. Qualls (1-0)

L: R. Hernandez (2-4)

S: B. Lidge (15)

Phils lose 7th straight; 1-9 homestand

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Clutch hits. Outstanding relief work. Late-innning rallies.

All of that has kept Houston alive and confident about the NL wild-card race. Philadelphia had none of it on its homestand and is fading from the playoff picture.

Eric Bruntlett, Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman homered during a seven-run rally in the seventh inning and the Houston Astros turned a game-changing triple play to beat Philadelphia 12-10 Thursday, sending the Phillies to their seventh straight loss.

"We need wins more than anything, but this also shows how we can come back," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "Emotions are real high right now."

The Phillies led 7-2 in the fifth when Todd Pratt grounded into a bases-loaded triple play, the first turned by Houston in 13 years. The Astros, hoping to hang on in the NL wild-card race, swept the three-game series and won their fourth in a row and finished 5-4 on their road trip.

Philadelphia finished a 1-9 homestand and gave manager Larry Bowa another reason to worry about his job a day after general manager Ed Wade declined to give him an endorsement.

The Phillies matched a team record for most losses on a homestand -- they went 1-9-1 in 1941 at Connie Mack Stadium. The Phillies were coming off a 5-1 end to a West Coast trip, making the collapse even more puzzling.

"Nobody in their right mind thought we'd go 1-9 at home," losing pitcher Roberto Hernandez said.

Chad Qualls (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless sixth and Brad Lidge pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 17 chances.

Phillies starter Brett Myers took a 7-3 lead into the seventh, then allowed a two-run homer to Biggio. Myers was pulled after Carlos Beltran's bunt single, and it all fell apart for the Phillies.

Hernandez (2-4), the most maligned pitcher by the Philly faithful, heard the boos cascade down after Berkman's homer tied it at 7.

Hernandez left with his head down to a louder, angrier chorus of boos after walking Mike Lamb and allowing a single to Morgan Ensberg. Rheal Cormier relieved and promptly gave up a three-run shot by Bruntlett.

"It's nice to win three in a row here and this was a huge win for us," Bruntlett said. "They're all huge now. That was a momentum swinger for us."

Jeff Kent added a two-run double off Felix Rodriguez in the eighth.

The Phillies bullpen has been weakened without setup man Ryan Madson and closer Billy Wagner. Neither are expected back soon. Both could have been used on the homestand -- the Phillies lost five games with a lead in the seventh inning.

"It doesn't matter who we bring in," a glum Bowa said. "It gets demoralizing when you do put up runs and they come right back."

Bowa had another simple explanation for the bullpen's fizzle: An overworked staff clinging to close leads in a homer-friendly park.

"I don't think anyone's going to admit it, but the park is in a lot of pitcher's heads," he said.

Bowa also said he had no inkling his job was on the line after a pregame chat with Wade.

The Phillies rallied for three in the eighth off Kirk Bullinger to make it 12-10 on Doug Glanville's RBI single and Bobby Abreu's second two-run double of the game.

Jim Thome was intentionally walked, but Dan Miceli got David Bell to ground out to end the inning.

Thome earlier hit his 36th homer for the fading Phillies.

Abreu gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead with a two-run double in the third off Carlos Hernandez. Thome followed with a two-run shot that just sneaked inside the right-field foul pole.

Lou Collier hit a solo shot to left and Bell added an RBI single in the fifth to make it 7-2.

The Phillies could have broken open the game in the fifth, chasing Hernandez and loading the bases with no outs when reliever David Weathers hit Marlon Byrd with a pitch.

Pratt followed with a grounder to Ensberg, who stepped on third base and threw to Kent. The second baseman's relay to Lamb completed the Astros' first triple play since Aug. 4, 1991.

"I'm just trying to make contact," Pratt said. "I'm not the fastest runner. It set up perfectly."

Lamb led off the second with a double and later stole home as part of a double steal.

Game notes


Houston RHP Roger Clemens received treatment and will test out his strained right calf Friday. ... Houston had its first steal of home since Jeff Bagwell against Pittsburgh on Aug. 18, 2001. ... Collier hit his first homer since Sept. 6, 2001, off Houston's Shane Reynolds. ... Marlon Anderson was the last Phillies player to hit into a triple play on Sept. 3, 2002, against Montreal.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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