for this game

Pence propels Astros past Phillies

May 24, 2008 - 4:22 AM By Ted Dunnam PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) - Hunter Pence delivered some blows, Jose Valverde absorbed one and Brandon Backe did his best to avoid them as the Houston Astros held on for a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday.

Pence belted a pair of solo home runs and made a solid defensive play in the ninth inning to help make a winner of Backe (4-5), who recorded his third consecutive quality start. The righthander allowed one run and six hits while striking out six in 7 1/3 innings to pick up the victory.

After Doug Brocail recorded the next two outs, Astros closer Jose Valverde survived a scary ninth to pick up his league-leading 15th save of the season.

"The difference in the game is the way Brandon Backe came out and set the tone for us," Pence said.

"The bullpen came in and shut the door. Valverde probably did one of the most amazing things I've ever seen on a baseball field."

In the ninth inning, a line drive by Pedro Feliz caromed off Valverde's glove and hit in him in the face. Pat Burrell, who belted a solo homer earlier in the contest, came around to score to cut the Astros' lead to 4-2.

"I'm on third base, and I was frozen," Burrell said. "I saw the ball carom in the air and I thought it was going to the shortstop. It all happened real fast.

"You don't want to see that happen. Fortunately, it hit his glove first. You've to give him a lot of credit for hanging in there."

After Valverde bounced back to strike out pinch hitter Chris Coste, last season's National League Most Valuable Player Jimmy Rollins doubled to right field. Pence alertly cut the ball off before it could roll to the wall, holding the game's potential tying run - speedy Eric Bruntlett - on third in the process.

Shane Victorino flied out to center to end the game.

Backe was obviously pleased with another solid outing.

"The whole game I felt pretty good," Backe said. "I was finding the strike zone and pounding it in there.

"It got a little hairy there in the third inning, but I just mixed it up enough to keep them off balance."

Valverde was stunned more than hurt in his short stint.

"I feel good right now. Everything is good," Valverde said. "I saw a couple of nights ago, Albert Pujols hit some guy (Chris Young) for San Diego.

"I said, 'Oh, my goodness, I don't want to be like that.' When I stood up, I felt a little dizzy and I said, 'You know what? I have to finish the game.'"

Valverde managed to deflect the ball to avoid serious injury.

"It touched my glove a little bit ... thank you, God," Valverde said. "If it hadn't hit my glove, I don't know what would happen.

"All the guys were more scared than me, I think. Everything is OK. I never lost consciousness."

With Houston clinging to a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning, former Phillie Michael Bourn plated J.R. Towles with an RBI single.

Carlos Lee's sacrifice fly in the eighth scored Lance Berkman to give the Astros a 4-1 advantage.

Adam Eaton (0-3) allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings to pick up the loss.

"I went out there and had some success early," Eaton said. "Obviously, I made a few mistakes. Those two home runs that Pence got were up and over the plate. If you asked him where he'd like them, he'd probably say right where I threw them."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 10 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 x 4 9 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: PHI - ADAM EATON, RYAN MADSON (8TH) AND CARLOS RUIZ
    HOU - BRANDON BACKE, DOUG BROCAIL (8TH), JOSE VALVERDE
    (9TH) AND J.R. TOWLES

    HOME RUNS: PHI - PAT BURRELL (12)

    May 23 10:43 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JIMMY ROLLINS SCORED PEDRO FELIZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J ROLLINS ON SECOND, E BRUNTLETT ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 3
    HOUSTON 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: S VICTORINO (.270, 2-FOR-4)

    Phillies 3, Astros 4  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 23 10:39 PM
  • 43
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 38 roots (Close Finish)

    Phillies 3, Astros 4  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 23 10:39 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY PEDRO FELIZ SCORED PAT BURRELL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, P FELIZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 2
    HOUSTON 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: C RUIZ (.232, 0-FOR-3)

    Phillies 2, Astros 4  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 23 10:30 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CARLOS LEE SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 1
    HOUSTON 4 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.295, 2-FOR-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI)

    Phillies 1, Astros 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsMay 23 10:20 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MICHAEL BOURN SCORED J.R. TOWLES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M BOURN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 1
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: K MATSUI (.276, 0-FOR-3)

    Phillies 1, Astros 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsMay 23 9:56 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY HUNTER PENCE (7) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    7TH OFF ADAM EATON.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 1, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.267, 2-FOR-2)

    Phillies 1, Astros 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsMay 23 9:50 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY HUNTER PENCE (6) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF ADAM EATON.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 1, HOUSTON 1
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.257, 1-FOR-1)

    Phillies 1, Astros 1  Bot 5, 0 OutsMay 23 9:13 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY PAT BURRELL (12) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF BRANDON BACKE.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 1, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: G JENKINS (.286, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    Phillies 1, Astros 0  Top 2, 0 OutsMay 23 8:21 PM
  • 5
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    SuketoKetchi Added 5 roots

    Phillies vs. AstrosMay 23 4:20 PM