Basking in the glow of their third straight East Division title, the Phillies couldn’t quite shake the champagne hangover as they fell to the Astros, giving them a split for the series and dropping them another half game out of the race for the top seed in the National League.
Cliff Lee looked shaky early, surrendering two first-inning runs courtesy of a Lance Berkman double. Lee settled in until the sixth inning when he surrendered a two-run home-run to Tejada. Lee finished the night giving up four earned runs, on seven hits. He struck out six on the evening in 5.2 innings of work.
Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino received the night off, with Eric Brunlett and Ben Francisco starting in their places. Francisco was the offensive star of the night, going 3-4 with two doubles. Pedro Feliz led the team with two R.B.I.’s while going 2-5.
The team looked sluggish all evening, most likely due to the lingering effects of Bud Light and celebratory champagne, but woke up in the ninth-inning, putting together a two-out rally.
Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs led the inning off with a walk before Astros closer, Jose Valverde, retired both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez. Jayson Werth followed with a single, which was backed by Feliz’s R.B.I. double, which plated two. The Phillies eventually got the winning run to the plate however Miguel Cairo flew out to end the ballgame.
After a roller-coaster month of baseball, the Phillies earned the opportunity to take a few breaths and rest. However, despite clinching the division, there is still meaningful baseball left to be played. Home-field advantage is still in play and we all know how important that can be, as the Phillies were undefeated at home in the 2008 playoffs en-route to their second World Series title in the team’s history.