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

innings.

”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

lead.

Martinez got his third hit off Oswalt in the seventh. After

Oswalt hit Lee with a pitch, he scored on a grounder by

Bogusevic.

”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

him.”

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.