The Phillies look for their sixth win of this 10-game road trip when Cole Hamels meets Jason Hirsh in a matchup of rookie pitchers.
Pat Burrell provided all the runs the Phillies needed last night with a first-inning grand slam off Roger Clemens. For Burrell, it was his fifth career grand slam, working the count full and attacking Rocket’s middle-in belt-high pitch, after Clemens walked the previous three batters. Burrell was 0-for-his-last-22 against Houston until going deep.
Brett Myers (11-6) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings to win for the third time in five starts.
The Phillies overcame a mistake-filled 9th to hold on to a 4-3 win. Tom Gordon earned his 30th save, but got no help from his defense. Ryan Howard and Jeff Conine both committed errors, but only Conine was charged for his drop.
Burrell’s blast echoed loudly in regards to the Wild Card standings, where the Phils now trail the Pads by just 1.5 games following San Diego’s loss to Los Angeles. San Francisco also lost and fell to 2.5 back.
Pat the Bat is back on the field this afternoon and will hit fifth, as the Phils look to build on their 5-3 road trip. Cole Hamels (7-8, 4.34 ERA) is 5-3 with a 2.72 ERA in his last nine starts for Philadelphia, but is just 3-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 11 road starts this season. He’s facing the Astros for the second time, after tossing an impressive game against his childhood idol, Clemens, back on Sept. 4. This time, the Astros counter with right-hander Jason Hirsh (3-3, 6.10), who has never faced the Phils. The Astros have high hopes for the 24-year-old right-hander, who pitched well in his previous three outings.
Before the game, the Phillies received word they will get a break tomorrow. Andy Pettitte has been scratched and will not pitch tomorrow’s game.
After going on a home run tear last week, Ryan Howard is looking for his first homer since Sept. 8. He leads the league with 56, and there’s a growing misconception that he’s slumping. He’s not. He’s been on base 18 of his last 29 plate appearances.
Lakewood crowned South Atlantic League champions
The Lakewood BlueClaws (Class-A, Phillies) won their first South Atlantic League championship in team history, blanking the Augusta GreenJackets 5-0 last night. BlueClaws pitcher Matt Maloney recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts in a complete-game shutout.