August 26 Philadelphia Inquirer
“After a third straight loss to a Houston Astros team that’s nowhere near contention, the frustration was clearly evident in Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Once again not seizing the opportunity to pick up ground in the playoff hunt, the Phillies dropped a 3-2 decision to the Astros on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park, continuing to waste decent pitching with a sputtering offense.
The Astros have won the first three games of this four-game series, limiting the Phillies to six runs in 34 innings.
“They have outplayed us and outhustled us and have done everything you can do,” Manuel said.
The Astros did enough to snap Roy Halladay’s six-game win streak, with solo home runs by Hunter Pence and former Phillie Michael Bourn, and an RBI single by Humberto Quintero in the seventh inning that snapped a 2-2 tie.
“We just haven’t been hitting,” a frustrated Manuel said. “On a bad night, we should score 3-4 runs.”
This is an Astros staff that entered the game with a 4.24 ERA.
Adding insult was the fact that Houston’s winning pitcher was former Phillie J.A. Happ, who was traded last month to the Astros as part of the deal for pitcher/leftfielder Roy Oswalt.
Happ allowed two runs in 61/3 innings. He threw 104 pitches, struck out four, and walked two.
“It was good,” Happ said. “I’m relieved it’s over.”
He admitted this wasn’t a normal outing.
“There were definitely some nerves going out there,” Happ said. “I didn’t know how I was going to feel. Like usual, once you get out there and get going, it was just another game.”
Halladay is now 16-9, and in his nine losses the Phillies have scored a total of 20 runs.
With the Phillies trailing 3-2 with two outs in the ninth inning, Ryan Howard delivered a pinch-hit single to left field against Brandon Lyon. Domonic Brown, pinch-hitting for Ben Francisco, ended the game by striking out.
“This one is a tough one to swallow and we just have to go out [Thursday] and get them,” Howard said.
Halladay retired the first 11 batters before Pence hit a 2-0 fastball for a solo home run in the fourth inning.
Happ had a no-hitter until Jayson Werth led off the fifth inning with a line-drive home run to left field.”
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