Houston-Phildelphia: Valverde Bypassed As Jose Astros Nail Down Win Over Phils

Todd TranauskyCorrespondent IApril 16, 2008

The Houston Astros defeated the Phillies, 2-1 in the middle game of the three game series between the teams. Roy Oswalt pitched masterfully over eight innings to get the win, while Kyle Kendrick took the loss despite allowing only two runs over his seven innings of work. Doug Brocail pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his first save of the season.

Michael Bourn accounted for both Astros runs in his return to Philadelphia after being traded to Houston in the off-season. Bourn led off the game with an infield single and scored three batters later when Carlos Lee doubled to the left field corner and gave the Astros an early 1-0 lead.

The Phils tied the game up at one in the bottom half of the first. Jayson Werth led off the Phils first with a single to center and scored on Ryan Howard’s single to center later in the inning to knot the game at one.

Bourn wasn’t finished, though.

The speedy centerfielder launched a two out homerun off the foul pole down the right field line to give the Astros a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning that Roy Oswalt and a pair of relievers made stand up.

Oswalt had struggled for the Astros in his first two outings, allowing 13 earned runs in ten and two-thirds innings of work. The thin right-hander showed no signs  of those struggles against the Phils, allowing a paltry five hits and one run over seven innings of work to notch his first win of the season.

Kendrick also pitched well, despite allowing the two runs. Kendrick was never really in any concerted trouble during his seven innings and looked like he had finally discovered last year’s success in 2008.

This outing was very different from Kendrick’s first two outings, and especially his last outing where he lasted only two and one third innings, because he had definitive command of both his fastball and curveball. He was able to throw both at any point in the count wherever he wanted. That type of command will be crucial to his continued success and Phillies fans can hope that Kendrick can maintain that command for another five months.

Astros Manager Cecil Cooper opted to not bring Jose Valverde into the game in a save situation after Valverde blew a save in Tuesday night’s series opener. Brocail came on and pitched a scoreless ninth to nail down the victory for the Astros as Valverde looked on, arms crossed, from the Astros bullpen in centerfield.