PHILADELPHIA(AP) A pregame pep talk from their manager helped the
get back on track.
hit a grand slam, J.A. Happ pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the Phillies moved closer toward clinching their
third straight NL East title with a 7-4 victory over the
on Tuesday night.
The defending World Series champions reduced their magic number for winning the division to one when Atlanta lost shortly
afterward to Florida.
The Phillies had lost five of seven coming in, prompting manager
to hold a closed-door meeting in the clubhouse 3 1/2 hours before the first pitch.
''I did all the talking,'' Manuel said.
Whatever he said worked.
Happ (12-4) allowed four runs - three earned - and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out six. He's the first rookie to
win 12 games for Philadelphia since
hit a two-run homer and Philadelphia's injury-plagued bullpen tossed 3 1-3 scoreless innings.
got four outs and
pitched the last two innings for his 10th save in 16 chances. He allowed two hits in the ninth, but he struck out
on a 96 mph fastball and got
looking to end it.
Madson knocked down Pence with a 97 mph fastball on an 0-2 pitch before freezing him with another 97 mph heater.
was warming up in the bullpen, ready to get another chance after picking up his 11th blown save last week at Florida. But
Madson needed just nine pitches to finish the eighth so Manuel sent him out there for another inning.
If there's a save situation Wednesday night, Lidge may be out there.
''Lidge pitches better at home than he does on the road and he matches up good against (Houston's) right-handers,'' Manuel
Moyer landed awkwardly on his final pitch in the seventh and was helped to the dugout by catcher
. Center fielder
made an outstanding, twisting catch on
's drive as Moyer watched on his hands and knees. Moyer strained his left groin.
Kaz Matsui and
homered for the Astros, who won the first five meetings between the teams.
(0-1) allowed five runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings in his first career start. Lopez had made six relief appearances.
''He left the ball up and we know if you hit the ball good in this ballpark, it can go a long way,'' Astros interim manager
Feliz put the Phillies ahead 5-1 in the fourth when he connected off Lopez for his seventh career slam.
started the inning with an infield hit and
followed with a single. After Werth walked to load the bases, Feliz drove the next pitch to the seats in left for his 12th
A sellout crowd stood and waved their white-and-red ''Fightin' Phils'' rally towels, giving Feliz a curtain call.
The Phillies can wrap up the division Wednesday night with
on the mound. If so, many starters can get some much-needed rest.
''That's the light at the end of the tunnel,'' Howard said. ''Rest is always good.''
Lee's broken-bat single plated a run in the fifth to cut it to 5-2. The Astros just missed tying the game when the next batter,
Pence, flied out to deep center with two runners on. Happ fanned Keppinger to end the inning.
''I felt a lot better than the results,'' Happ said. ''It was a battle all night.''
Werth went deep off
to give the Phillies a 7-2 lead in the fifth. Werth, an All-Star outfielder, has 35 homers and 96 RBIs in his first season
as a full-time starter.
Matsui hit a two-run shot in the sixth to cut it to 7-4.
After Berkman put the Astros ahead 1-0 in the third inning with his 25th homer, the Phillies tied it in the bottom half on
' RBI double.
's start was pushed back to Thursday and Martinez was moved up one day. Martinez (5-1) missed his previous start with neck
stiffness. The move also puts Lee in position to pitch Game 1 of the NL division series. ... Phillies C
was a late scratch. He's been bothered by a wrist injury. ... Feliz has two grand slams this year. It extended the Phillies'
franchise record for slams in a season to 11. ... Astros SS
extended his hitting streak to 16 games. ... Houston RHP
left after injuring his left hamstring on a pitch to Howard in the seventh.