Astros 7, Phillies 5


HOUSTON – Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer and the Houston Astros scored twice in the seventh inning on bases-loaded walks in a 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Carlos Lee had an RBI single and a towering solo homer and Craig Biggio had three hits, including two doubles, as the Astros won for the seventh time in their last eight home games.

Pat Burrell and Shane Victorino homered for the Phillies, who have lost five of seven.

Houston starter Woody Williams (4-10) won for the third straight time at Minute Maid Park, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings. He struggled early, then retired 18 of the last 21 hitters he faced to outduel fellow 40-something starter Jamie Moyer (7-6).

The Astros started the ninth with a 7-3 lead.

Dan Wheeler gave up a leadoff double to Ryan Howard. After an out, a walk and a hit batsman, Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run double. Wheeler was replaced by Trever Miller, who got two outs for his first save in three chances.

Jimmy Rollins beat out a bunt and Victorino singled to right before Williams had thrown five pitches. After Chase Utley grounded out, Williams intentionally walked Howard to get to Aaron Rowand, a .571 hitter this season with the bases loaded.

Rowand flied out to right and Rollins beat Luke Scott’s throw home to make it 1-0. Astros catcher Brad Ausmus alertly threw to Mike Lamb at third base and Victorino was caught in an inning-ending rundown.

Biggio doubled on Moyer’s second pitch of the game and Lee hit a two-out single to tie the game.

Burrell hammered Williams’ first pitch of the second inning off the facade in left field, his ninth homer.

Pence singled to left with one out in the third, the 28th time in 35 games he has reached base. Berkman followed with an RBI double off the fence in left-center.

Biggio led off the fifth with his second double into the left-field corner. Pence then lined a 3-2 pitch from Moyer off the left-field foul pole, the rookie center fielder’s ninth homer.

Williams retired 12 of 13 batters before Victorino hit a solo homer to right with one out in the sixth.

Brian Sanches relieved Moyer to start the seventh and gave up singles to Berkman and Lamb. With two outs, Sanches walked Ausmus to load the bases for Eric Bruntlett.

On a 3-2 pitch, Bruntlett hit a foul ball down the right-field line and Victorino dived into the stands trying to catch it. He missed the ball and stayed in the seats for several seconds as teammates, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and trainer Mark Andersen ran to check on him.

Victorino stayed in the game, but Sanches’ next pitch was low and Berkman scored to make it 5-3. Jose Mesa replaced Sanches and walked pinch-hitter Mark Loretta.

With two outs in the eighth, Lee drove a 2-1 pitch from Mesa over the railroad tracks in left. Lee, Houston’s only All-Star selection, leads the National League with 70 RBIs.

Notes: With his first double, Biggio became the 27th player to reach 1,000 extra-base hits. His second double gave him 660 in his career, sixth all-time and five behind George Brett. Biggio has more doubles than any right-handed hitter in history. He singled in the sixth, his 3,007th career hit, which tied him with Al Kaline for 25th all-time. … Moyer allowed more than three earned runs for just the second time in 10 road starts. … The Phillies have 19 homers in their last 12 games against Houston.

AP-ES-07-02-07 2302EDT