Lane goes deep, but errors hurt Astros
Williams upset after he couldn't preserve lead against Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- There were a few Astros miscues here, some baserunning gaffes there, and the Phillies took advantage of them in an 8-5 victory on Saturday, before 35,387 at Citizens Bank Park, snapping Houston's three-game winning streak.
Astros starter Woody Williams took the loss, surrendering six runs (five earned) over 5 1/3 innings, while the Phillies' Cole Hamels notched his first victory this season.Jason Lane supplied a bulk of the Houston offense, slamming a three-run homer in the fourth inning. But Philadelphia countered that with 14 hits, including a Chase Utley solo home run and Jimmy Rollins' two-run shot. "I thought Woody's start was OK, because they're a good hitting club over there, and you have to maneuver around some land mines," Astros manager Phil Garner said. Williams didn't exactly agree. "It just seemed that obviously my location was off," Williams said. "I was missing the strike zone and almost all of their runs came with two outs. I'm a little disappointed I'm not throwing the ball better. Right now, my focus is on getting better and getting more consistent." The Astros didn't help themselves, making mental and physical errors. Morgan Ensberg was doubled off second base in the second on a flyout to center by Lane. Ensberg seemingly forgot how many outs there were, because he ran home without even looking over his shoulder to see where the ball was. "I really thought Lane's hit would fall," Ensberg said. "I just misread it and though it would drop. It didn't." Another gaffe in the fifth allowed the Phillies to take a 5-4 lead, as Ensberg's throwing error with two outs preserved the inning for Philadelphia. Abraham Nunez made the Astros pay with a single to left that scored Pat Burrell. Utley was particularly damaging. The Phillies second baseman went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Utley's solo homer in the first gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead, which the Astros responded to with four runs -- the big shot coming on Lane's three-run homer in the fourth. "Hamels threw me a changeup -- that's obviously his good pitch -- and that's what he got me [with] on my first at-bat," Lane said. "With Hamels, you try and stay with the ball as long as you could."
That gave the Astros a short-lived 4-1 lead. Philadelphia responded with a three-run fourth to tie the score, highlighted by Rollins' two-run homer."Anytime you have a lead like that, you hope that it holds up," Lane said. "But [Philadelphia] is a dangerous team. And with this ballpark, no lead is too big to have. This was disappointing. We just have to keep grinding and make sure we don't repeat the same mistakes we made today. This was just a case of the mistakes catching up to us." Hamels wasn't too exceptional, but good enough to sidetrack some Houston threats. He averted some slight problems in the third, when Craig Biggio was thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning. "I thought I was safe, and I was told that I was safe, but who knows?" Biggio said. "Some things didn't go our way today. We walked too many guys and gave them opportunities, which is something we couldn't do. I thought we had Hamels on the ropes a couple of times, and weren't able to finish him off." Like in the sixth, when Hamels encountered another obstacle. With runners on first and third and two outs, Hamels struck out Humberto Quintero on three pitches. Williams didn't fare as well. He had one strong inning, the second, when he retired the bottom of the Phillies' lineup in order. He averted some slight trouble in the third, but was stung by Rollins' shot in the fourth. "The two or three times we scored runs, they came back and I gave up runs the next inning, and you're really not going to win doing that," Williams said. "With the Rollins at-bat, I wanted to throw him a slider down and in, but I didn't get the location that I wanted. Besides, he's swinging a hot bat."
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.