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Howard homers as Phils complete sweep of Astros

Apr 3, 2011 - 9:51 PM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Ryan Howard drove in four runs and Roy Oswalt tossed six solid innings in his first start against his former team, as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Houston Astros, 7-3, to complete a season- opening three-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park.

Howard and Ben Francisco both had three hits for Philadelphia, which started the season at home 3-0 for the first time since 1970.

Oswalt (1-0), who spent his first 9 1/2 seasons in an Astros uniform before being dealt to the Phillies last July, gave up two runs on five hits, walked one -- the first bases on balls issued by the Philadelphia starters this season -- and struck out six.

Hunter Pence finished 3-for-4 with a home run for the Astros, who hadn't been swept in Philadelphia since May 7-9, 2002.

J.A. Happ, one of the players Houston acquired for Oswalt, was initially supposed to start Sunday, but he was pushed back to Tuesday because of a strained right oblique.

Instead, Bud Norris (0-1) toed the rubber and allowed five runs on six hits over four innings.

"(Norris) came out throwing the ball extremely well, but he got up and tried to overpower some guys," said Houston manager Brad Mills.

The Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening frame.

Placido Polanco drew a one-out walk and Jimmy Rollins singled before Howard crushed a 3-0 pitch to the bullpen beyond the center-field wall. After Raul Ibanez struck out swinging, Francisco belted a solo home run to left field.

"He was very patient," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said of Howard's home run. "He got his pitch and took a good hard aggressive swing at it."

Howard narrowly missed another three-run homer in the third inning. Polanco led off with a double and took third on a single by Rollins. Once again, Norris fell behind in the count 3-0 and Howard ripped an RBI double off the right-field wall. Norris retired the next three batters to avoid further damage.

Pence went deep to open the fourth, and Carlos Lee scored on a groundout to trim Houston's deficit to 5-2 in the sixth.

Philadelphia got the two runs back in the bottom of the inning. Francisco singled off Aneury Rodriguez and Carlos Ruiz walked before Wilson Valdez dropped down a sacrifice bunt.

Center fielder Shane Victorino, who pulled himself from Saturday's game because of soreness in his left calf, was held out of the starting lineup Sunday, replaced by Michael Martinez, a Rule 5 Draft pick making his major league debut.

However, Victorino felt well enough to pinch hit and grounded a run-scoring single to right field. Martinez then singled to left to plate Ruiz.

Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick allowed a run in the ninth.

Game Notes

Oswalt improved to 10-0 with a 2.17 ERA in 11 career starts at Citizens Bank Park...Howard passed Willie Jones for 11th place in Phillies history with 754 RBI.

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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Astros 3, Phillies 7  FinalApr 5 12:35 PM

  • HOUSTON: 3

    Apr 3 4:25 PM

  • Humberto Quintero grounded into a double play, short to first scored Brett Wallace. None on with two outs and Jason Michaels due up.

    Astros 3, Phillies 7  Top 9, 2 OutsApr 3 4:23 PM

  • Michael Martinez singled to left scored Carlos Ruiz. Runners on first and second with one out and Placido Polanco due up.

    Astros 2, Phillies 7  Bot 6, 1 OutApr 3 3:33 PM

  • Brett Wallace grounded out to first scored Carlos Lee. Runner on third with two outs and Chris Johnson due up.

    Astros 2, Phillies 5  Top 6, 2 OutsApr 3 3:17 PM

  • Hunter Pence lead-off Home Run (1) to right. Carlos Lee due up.

    Astros 1, Phillies 5  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 3 2:36 PM

  • Ryan Howard doubled to right scored Placido Polanco. Runners on second and third with none out and Raul Ibanez due up.

    Astros 0, Phillies 5  Bot 3, 0 OutsApr 3 2:24 PM

  • Ben Francisco two-out, solo Home Run (1) to left. Carlos Ruiz due up.

    Astros 0, Phillies 4  Bot 1, 2 OutsApr 3 1:57 PM

  • Ryan Howard one-out, three-run Home Run (1) to center scored Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins. Raul Ibanez due up.

    Astros 0, Phillies 3  Bot 1, 1 OutApr 3 1:54 PM

  • Angel Sanchez flied out to right. None on with two outs and Hunter Pence due up.

    Apr 3 1:40 PM
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    Astros vs. PhilliesApr 2 6:01 AM