Six days after leaving a start with a lower back strain, Roy Oswalt pitched six scoreless innings Thursday to lead the Phillies over the Padres, 3-0, in the opener of a four-game set at Petco Park.
Oswalt didn’t allow a hit until Chris Denorfia flared a single to right with two outs in the fifth. He finished having allowed just that single and a pair of walks, though he did need 106 pitches to record 18 outs. The right-hander struck out seven in improving to 3-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.88.
Antonio Bastardo escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the seventh and then worked the eighth with Ryan Madson having the night off. Jose Contreras allowed a pair of two-out baserunners in the ninth before freezing Brad Hawpe on a backdoor slider to secure his fifth save in as many chances.
Offensively, Ben Francisco and Brian Schneider provided the highlights with second-inning solo homers against Mat Latos. Ryan Howard, meanwhile, left the park wearing the old "golden sombrero" after his 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Three of those K’s came vs. Latos, against whom Howard is now 0-for-8 with eight strikeouts lifetime.
Next up: Cole Hamels takes the hill Friday night against Clayton Richard in the second game of the four-game set. The Phillies will be going for their ninth straight win at Petco Park, dating to 2008.
-Written for Beerleaguer by Drew Silverman