Fanatic Four: Phillies' Four-Run Ninth Lifts Them Above the Astros
The Philadelphia Phillies overcame a 3-0 deficit with four runs off Houston’s closer Jose Valverde to win 4-3 at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Chris Snelling led off the ninth for the Phillies with a home run to right to cut the Astros' lead to 3-1. Chase Utley was hit by a pitch. After Ryan Howard struck out swinging, Pat Burrell homered to right to tie the game at three, giving Valverde his second blown save.
Valverde then got Geoff Jenkins to strike out swinging, but catcher Brad Ausmus could not hang onto the ball and Jenkins was safe at first. Pedro Feliz won the game with a double to left scoring Jenkins.
Valverde (2-1) blew his second save in three opportunities. His last blown save was last Monday against St. Louis, a game in which he also came in with a 3-0 lead. The Astros’ closer has allowed runs in every save opportunity so far this season.
Despite the poor performance, Valverde said he is putting this game behind him.
"It's over today and I'll be back tomorrow," Valverde said.
Jenkins said he had a good feeling that he was going to score on Feliz’s hit.
"I felt like I could score," Jenkins said. "The crowd was going berserk and once I got home, it was a tremendous feeling when you're safe."
Philadelphia’s third base coach, Steve Smith, put up a stop sign for Jenkins, who ran past him.
"I waited as long as I could," Smith said. "I tried to be in front of him but he went right by."
Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel was impressed with how Jenkins ran the bases on that play.
"It was a great piece of running," Manuel said. "It was a big win for us."
Valverde’s blown save squandered a strong pitching performance by Astros’ starter Shawn Chacon. Chacon pitched eight scoreless innings, giving up only four singles and two walks. Chacon had no satisfaction with his performance after the game.
"We're here to win ballgames," Chacon said. "I could go out and throw seven innings and give up seven runs and it doesn't matter."
Adam Eaton started for the Phillies and got no run support. In six innings, Eaton gave up three runs, seven hits, two walks, and struck out three. Rudy Seanez (1-1) got the win, pitching a scoreless ninth.
The Astros got their first run in the first inning with two outs. After Michael Bourn flied out and Mark Loretta struck out, Lance Berkman walked. Carlos Lee followed with a single that advanced Berkman to second. Miguel Tejada singled and Berkman scored.
In the sixth inning, Berkman led off with a single. Carlos Lee followed, getting a single, and Berkman advanced to third on an errant throw by Jayson Werth. After Miguel Tejada flied out, Geoff Blum singled home Berkman. Carlos Lee scored on Hunter Pence’s sacrifice fly to left.
The Astros play the Phillies again Wednesday at 6:05 PM CST. Roy Oswalt (0-3) will start for the Astros and try to get his first win of the season against the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick (1-1).
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