Astros hand Oswalt, Phils loss in opener

Posted by Kevin Durso

Another roaring start for the Phillies was cut down by some old friends on the Astros. One was a long time slugger in Houston, who had the Phillies' number for years. The other was a Phillie for quite some time. And both handed the Phillies a loss tonight.

The Phillies jumped to an early lead in the second. A leadoff double by Raul Ibanez led to an RBI single by Pete Orr, giving the Phillies the lead.

The Astros would respond in the fourth. The Phillies' defense has been superb all season. So, in the fourth, three mishaps, including a missed catch by Ibanez, and a double play gone wrong by Orr and Jimmy Rollins, who returned to the starting lineup, set the Astros up for scoring. The missed double play tied the game. An RBI double by Humberto Quintero followed, and gave the Astros the lead.

The next inning, two more runs would score on a home run by Carlos Lee. Lee's blast just cleared the left field fence.

That would be enough for the Astros, who added a run in the seventh. The Phillies didn't have an answer, and the Phillies dropped the opener of their three-game set with the Astros, 5-1.

Sloppy defense and some vulnerable pitching, courtesy of Roy Oswalt, was the cause of tonight's loss. Really there isn't much to describe this loss. The Phillies played one of their most lackluster games in the past month, and it just happened to come against baseball's worst team.

In that sense, the loss seems a little embarrassing, but in all reality, with the Phillies closing in on a playoff spot and fifth straight division title, there isn't much to worry about or complain about.

On the bright side, Joe Blanton pitched a scoreless eighth inning, showing how he will likely be used for the remainder of the season and in the Postseason. But, for now, we move on to tomorrow, and see just what will happen next.

The Phillies look to rebound from their two-game losing streak tomorrow night, when they face the Astros again. Cole Hamels gets the start against J.A. Happ.