heads straight to the weight room after most games. Makes sense, because he provided the muscle in the
' four-game sweep of Philadelphia.
Pence homered and drove in three runs on Monday in the Astros' 4-3 win over the NL East leaders. The Houston right fielder
went 6 for 13 in the series with three home runs and eight RBIs.
''Not too long ago, I was in the biggest slump,'' he said. ''Now, I've caught a good streak and I'm hitting the ball well.''
Pence hit a two-run homer and an RBI double in the finale for the Astros, who've won eight of their last nine home games.
drew a bases-loaded walk from
Chan Ho Park
to force home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 26 chances and the Astros matched their longest winning streak of the season
''We got a good start to the homestand,'' Pence said. ''It all starts with pitching. The bullpen did great and we battled
hit back-to-back homers in the fourth against Houston starter
. Howard also drove in a run with a first-inning single.
The Phillies still have a comfortable lead in their division, but manager
is worried that his players are starting to press as the team heads into the final month.
''I don't know what it is, if they're tight or whatever,'' Manuel said. ''They have no reason to be tight, but I kind of sense
that's what it is.
''This is September 7th. We're still in good position, but we've got to play, man, we've just got to play.''
The Phillies scored only 10 runs in Houston and were swept in a four-game series for the first time since August 2008.
''It was a bad series and that's saying it lightly,'' Manuel said. ''We did everything we could to lose. You name it, every
game, we did everything we could to lose.''
became the Phillies' last-minute starter when J.A. Happ was unable to pitch because of a right oblique strain. Moyer got a
no-decision after allowing two runs and three hits in six innings.
With the Phillies leading 1-0, Moyer walked
in the second and Pence drove a full-count pitch over the railroad tracks in left. Pence is hitting .394 with four homers
and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games.
''It's just baseball, you can't explain it,'' Pence said. ''Hopefully, I can keep riding it, keep going in there, trying to
get a good pitch and making a good swing.''
Howard and Ibanez homered in the fourth, the second time this season the two sluggers have connected in consecutive at-bats.
Moehler walked Ibanez and
with two outs in the sixth and
walked on four pitches to load the bases, but Gervacio got
to fly out.
Moyer retired 11 in a row after
's single in the second inning.
Bourn led off the Houston sixth with a line-drive single up the middle that Moyer ducked to avoid. Moyer retired the next
three hitters to wrap up his 101-pitch outing.
(3-2) replaced Gervacio in the seventh. He gave up a double to
, but got the final two outs.
Park (3-3) relieved Moyer in the seventh and the Astros tied it on back-to-back doubles by Tejada and Pence. Park then walked
three straight batters to give Houston a 4-3 lead.
combined to shut out the Phillies in the eighth, setting up Valverde for the finish.
NOTES: The Phillies had back-to-back homers for the eighth time this season. ... Happ called the injury ''a freak thing''
and expected to make his next scheduled start this weekend. ''I'd be really frustrated if I did try to go today and suddenly,
it's six or seven starts instead of one or two,'' he said. ''It's just a frustrating situation.'' ... The Astros purchased
the contracts of infielder Chris Johnson and right-handed pitcher
and recalled infielder Tommy Manzella from Triple-A Round Rock. ... Astros slugger
has not homered in 30 games, the second-longest drought of his career.