The Phillies’ ninth inning rally comes up short as Eaton loses another start.

The Phillies’ offense would come up short in the ninth inning as they lose to the Houston Astros, 4-3, wasting a good effort by Adam Eaton. The Phils would score first, as Pat Burrell hits a solo home run off of Astros’ starter Brandon Backe in the second inning, his twelfth home run of the year. That would be the score until the bottom of the fifth inning, as Eaton and Backe would keep both teams quiet, Backe with his slow curve and Eaton with generally good pitching. But then, in the Astros’ fifth, Eaton would give up a solo shot to Hunter Pence, for his sixth home run of the year, tying the score at one. The Astros would later threathen to take the lead by getting two men on base with one out, but Eaton would get out of the inning by getting Michael Bourn to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The score would remain tie until the bottom of the seventh, when Pence, leading off the inning, would hit a 3-0 fastball out of the ballpark for his second home run of the night off of Eaton, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. The Astros would then increase their lead to 3-1 on a Bourn single, scoring J.R. Towles, who has earlier singled. The Astros would add another run in the eighth when Carlos Lee hit a sacrifice fly off of Ryan Madson, scoring Lance Berkman, who has earlier tripled. The Phillies would try to rally back in the ninth against Astros’ closer Jose Valverde. Burrell would start the rally off with a double to center field. After moving to third on a ground out, Burrell would score on a line drive single by Pedro Feliz off of Valverde’s face, making the score 4-2 Astros. After the Astros’ trainer have taken several minutes to look Valverde over to make sure that he could continue to pitch, Carlos Ruiz would hit a single, moving Feliz to second base. After Eric Bruntlett goes in to pinch run for Ruiz, Valverde would strike out pinch hitter Chris Coste for the second out. Jimmy Rollins would then hit a line drive double, scoring Feliz and sending Bruntlett, who had to dive to get out of the way of Rollins’ line drive, to third, making the score 4-3 Houston. With two men in scoring position and two out, Shane Victorino would come to the plate. After getting the count full, Victorino would hit a fly ball to center field, ending the ballgame, as Valverde is able to nail down his fifteenth save of the year.

Adam Eaton would take the lost, as he pitches seven innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. His record drops to 0-3, with a ERA of 5.37. Eaton by now must be wondering what he has to do to actually win a ballgame. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning in relief, giving up an earned run on one hit. Brandon Backe would pick up the win for the Astros, as he would go seven and one-third innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits. Doug Brocail would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits as he snuffs out a Phillies’ rally in the eighth, leaving the bases loaded. Jose Valverde, in spite of being hit in the face by a line drive, would record his fifteenth save of the season as he pitches one inning, giving up two earned runs on four hits.

Despite the lost, the Phillies are still one and a half games behind the Marlins, as the fish loses their game with the Giants. They are still technically tied for second place with the Braves, .002 percentage points behind them, as the Braves were crushed in their game with the Diamondbacks. The Phils and the Braves are still leading the Mets by three games, as the Mets loses their game with the Rockies in extra-innings.

The Phillies (27-23) will continue their four games series with the Astros (28-23, 3rd National League Central) at Minute Maid Park. The game will start tonight at 7:05 pm Eastern (6:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter will by Brett Myers (2-5, 5.76), who is coming off another lost, as he pitched six innings against the Nationals on May 19, in the Phils’ 4-0 lost, giving up only three runs on eight hits. Myers has lost four of his last five starts, with a no-decision in his other start. He’ll be looking to improve on his last start while trying to improve his record. In his previous start against the Astros, he would go seven innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, as he picks up the win in the Phils’ 10-2 win. The Astros will send to the mound Brian Moehler (1-1, 4.76), who is coming off a lost to the Chicago Cubs on May 19, where he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Astros’ 7-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record in what could be his last start in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who should be coming off the disabled list next week.

The Phils’ offense hopes to continue what they were doing on Wednesday and Thursday nights, where they scored nineteen runs on thirty hits. Although they got ten hits in last night’s game, they were only able to score three runs, thanks mainly to the slow curveballs that were being served up to them by Backe. They hope not to have similar problems with Moehler tonight.

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