Friday, April 13, 2007

Lee powers Astros past Phils

By Tim McManus
The Phanatic Magazine

Carlos Lee blasted three home runs and drove in six as the Houston Astros toppled the struggling Philadelphia Phillies, 9-6, in the opener of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

Lee's stellar night included a grand slam in the third inning, the 10th of his career. His three homers in a game tied a club record.

Morgan Ensberg added a three-run home run for the Astros, who have won three in a row. Ace Roy Oswalt (2-0) picked up win No. 100 on his career despite yielding six runs on seven hits over five innings.

That's because fellow top right-hander Brett Myers (0-2) was tagged for seven runs on three hits and five walks over 3 1/3 frames.

Ryan Howard, Wes Helms, Aaron Rowand and Chase Utley all finished with a run and an RBI for Philadelphia, which has dropped five of six.

The Phillies used some small ball and a bit of fortune to build a 3-0 first- inning lead. The rally started with two outs, when Utley and Howard drew back- to-back walks before Helms drove in the game's first run with a bloop single. A Jayson Werth walk and infield singles by both Rowand and Rod Barajas helped push two more runs across.

Lee, though, essentially wiped that lead away single-handedly. He put the Astros on the board with a leadoff homer in the second, then belted the 10th grand slam of his career in the third to put his club in front 5-3. Brad Ausmus doubled and Ensberg and Lance Berkman followed with two-out walks to set the table for Lee, who crushed a Myers offering into the seats in left- center.

Ensberg's three-run homer in the fourth put the Astros up 8-3.

The Phils fought back, plating two runs in the home half of the fourth on back-to-back RBI singles by Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino. They threatened again in the fifth, putting runners at the corners following a pair of walks and a Greg Dobbs groundout, and Rowand trotted home to make it 8-6 after Oswalt was charged with a balk.

The Houston bullpen combined for four scoreless innings from there, however, with Dan Wheeler working the ninth for his second save on the year.

The Houston offense also added a run in the top of the ninth on Lee's third homer of the night.

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