Astros claim third win in a row over Phillies

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Houston Astros denied Roy Halladay a seventh consecutive win on Wednesday, smacking two home runs off the Philadelphia ace in a 3-2 victory over the Phillies.

Halladay, who had also been seeking his 17th win of the season, ran his tally of scoreless innings to 18 before Astros right-fielder Hunter Pence blasted a two-out homer in the fourth.

Left-fielder Michael Bourn took Halladay deep again in the sixth inning after Philadelphia's Jayson Werth had tied the game at 1-1 with a homer off pitcher J.A. Happ in the fifth.

Lefty Happ had won 12 games for the Phillies in his rookie season before being traded to the Astros on July 29.

"I'm a little relieved now that's over," Happ told reporters. "There was definitely some nerves out there."

Third baseman Chris Johnson went 2-for-4 for the Astros, setting up the winning run in the seventh with his double to right field before catcher Humberto Quintero singled him home.

Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard, who was ejected in the 14th inning of Tuesday's marathon game between the two clubs, did not start on Wednesday but pinch-hit in the ninth inning.

He singled but was left on base when pinch-hitter Domonic Brown struck out. It was the sixth time in seven games the Phillies had scored less than three runs.

"Same story, we came up short," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told reporters. "If we're going to score one or two runs, we're going to get beat."

The Phillies have now lost three in a row to the Astros and trail National League East leaders Atlanta by 2 games.

"You hate to focus on what other teams are doing," Halladay told reporters. "But we'd like to be playing better."

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)