Phils' Pence, Oswalt return to Houston
It will be a reunion of sorts in tonight's opener of a game series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros from Minute Maid Park.
Former Astros ace Roy Oswalt gets the nod for the Phillies on Monday and was traded to Philadelphia in the J.A. Happ deal last July. A year later the Astros shipped outfielder Hunter Pence to the City of Brotherly Love for four players.
"I'm just going to go play hard, go have fun," Pence told the club's website. "That's what I've always done my whole career. It's a familiar park. I've been there a lot. It is what it is."
Oswalt faced his former team for the first time in a 7-3 win on April 3 this season and held Houston to two runs and five hits in six innings of work. He is 7-8 in 19 overall starts to go along with a 3.72 ERA this season and is 3-1 in his previous four decisions. Oswalt did not record a decision in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Atlanta, as he fired seven innings of two-run ball.
The right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 11 road starts this season for the Phillies, who lead the Braves by 12 games in the NL East standings and had a six-game winning streak stopped with Sunday's 3-2 loss to Milwaukee in the finale of a four-game set from Miller Park.
Phils starter Vance Worley lost for the first time since May 29 and the Phillies had won his last 14 trips to the hill. Worley was reached for three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings and struck out seven batters, falling to 11-2 on the season. Worley's streak fell one short of the team-record 15 consecutive wins in starts by lefty Steve Carlton during the 1972 season.
Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino both hit solo homers for the Phillies. Their magic number to clinch a fifth straight division title is now six. Philadelphia has won 11 of its last 14 games and is 3-1 on a seven-game road trip. It is 20-6 in the past 26 road games and owns baseball's best road record at 45-27.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is expected to start tonight and is recovering from a groin injury that landed him on the disabled list. He made an appearance in Milwaukee on Saturday after Wilson Valdez experienced tightness in his left hamstring.
Houston has lost seven of nine games and dropped two of three meetings with Washington over the weekend. In Sunday's 8-2 loss at Nationals Park, Carlos Lee drove in a run and both Jimmy Paredes and Matt Downs posted two hits and a run scored for the Astros.
Astros starter Henry Sosa was tagged for the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings.
"His pitches were flat and he didn't have his location," Houston manager Brad Mills said about Sosa. "And when you combine those two you're going to give up runs and he did."
Former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers gets the nod for Houston tonight and spent his first eight seasons in the majors with Philadelphia. Myers joined Houston before the 2010 campaign and put the brakes on the worst slide of his career in Tuesday's 4-2 win at Pittsburgh. Myers was 0-7 in 13 trips to the hill before holding the Buccos to a run and four hits in 7 2/3 innings.
It was Myers' first win since June 17 at Los Angeles and pushed his record to 4-13 with a 4.66 ERA in 30 games (29 starts). The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies and 1-7 in 13 games (12 starts) at home this season.
Philadelphia swept a three-game series against Houston earlier this season from April 1-3 at Citizens Bank Park.