Astros 5, Phillies 1

Carlos Lee spoiled the Houston homecoming for Roy Oswalt and
Hunter Pence.

He hit a two-run homer off Oswalt and the Astros beat the
Philadelphia Phillies 5-1 Monday night. Oswalt tried to sneak a
curveball past his former teammate.

”I was trying to throw it down and away,” Oswalt said. ”I had
two strikes on him, and I thought I could throw it down and away
for a strike, but he popped it up and it went out. Crawford seats
got me here before. I knew it wasn’t going very far – front row. He
hit it far enough to get out.”

Despite the loss, Philadelphia’s magic number for gaining at
least a wild-card playoff spot dropped to one with St. Louis’ 6-5
loss to Pittsburgh. The Phillies are trying to make the playoffs
for the fifth straight year. They won the World Series in 2008 and
lost in it in 2009.

Oswalt (7-9), who pitched 10 seasons for the Astros, faced his
former teammates for the first time at Minute Maid Park since he
was traded to the Phillies in July 2010.

Pence, traded by Houston to the Phillies in July, got two hits
off Brett Myers (5-13).

Both Oswalt and Pence received warm ovations on their first
plate appearances.

”I didn’t expect it to feel as weird as it did,” Pence said.
”It was strange. The support they gave me was incredible. I’m not
sure I was expecting that, but it was humbling. It was familiar but
unfamiliar at the same time.”

Myers allowed six hits in eight innings. He struck out four and
walked one. Myers has allowed three earned runs in his last 22 2-3

”Sometimes you go out there and don’t want to throw a pitch
because they know it’s coming or they have something on you,”
Myers said. ”You just have to mix it up and keep them (as) off
balance as possible.”

Oswalt pitched seven innings, allowed five earned runs, struck
out two and walked two.

J.D. Martinez got three hits and scored three runs for Houston.
He opened the fourth inning with a double and scored on a single by
Brian Bogusevic. Humberto Quintero’s double scored Bogusevic for a
2-1 lead.

Martinez singled with two outs in the fourth and scored on Lee’s
16th homer into the Crawford boxes in left field for a 4-1

Martinez got his third hit off Oswalt in the seventh. After
Oswalt hit Lee with a pitch, he scored on a grounder by

”He’s a guy that throws any pitch on any count,” Martinez
said. ”We stuck with the approach and hit off his fastball and
adjusted everything else. You never know what’s coming off

Raul Ibanez doubled to open the second inning for the Phillies
and he scored on a single by Pete Orr.

Oswalt had a club-record eight opening day starts for Houston,
was named to the All-Star team three times and pitched the Astros
to their only World Series appearance in 2005. Oswalt ranks first
in Astros winning percentage at .636.

Pence hit .290 in five seasons with the Astros. Lee said he felt
comfortable facing Oswalt.

”I’ve had about 25 at bats against him so I know what kind of
pitcher he is,” Lee said. ”I got good at bats against him. We’re
hitting the ball good and giving ourselves opportunities to score
some runs. Today, we got some key hits.”

Notes: The Phillies have won six of eight, outscoring opponents
36-20. Philadelphia is 20-7 in their last 27 road games. They have
baseball’s best road record at 45-28. The franchise high mark for
road victories is 48 in 1976 and 2009. Lee has hit safely in 20 of
his last 21 games, including a season-high 14-game streak. The
Astros avoided setting a franchise record for most losses in a
season. They are tied for the record with 97 losses, set in 1965,
1975 and 1991.