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Updated: Saturday, May 10, 2003 12:37 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Houston Astros
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
3 8 0
Philadelphia Phillies
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
5 10 0
W Myers (3-2)
L Oswalt (2-4)
S Mesa (11)
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PHILADELPHIA 5, HOUSTON 3
M Lieberthal: 3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Houston Astros ' final visit to Veterans Stadium did not get off to a good start.

Mike Lieberthal went 3-for-4 with a home run and Brett Myers pitched 6 1/3 effective innings as the Philadelphia Phillies snapped the Astros' seven-game winning streak with a 5-3 victory.

Losers of two of their previous three games, the Phillies erased an early deficit in the second inning on Lieberthal's fourth homer of the season. Over his last 16 contests, Lieberthal is hitting .399 (23-for-59) with three homers and eight RBI.

"The only reason I feel (hot) is because all my hits are really hard," Lieberthal said. "I haven't had hardly any bloop hits where I'm just getting by. I'm swinging the bat really good."

"Lieby's been swinging very good," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "If we get a couple of more guys hot, it'll be a good lineup."

Myers (3-2) earned his third straight win, allowing two runs and five hits with three walks and six strikeouts. The righthander has lasted at least six innings in each of his seven starts this season.

"Every pitcher would like to go deep into a game. It means you're pitching well," Myers said. "Early, I thought my fastball was there for me and then later, my curveball came around. I felt fine out there."

"He's 22 years old," Bowa said. "You get caught up in his stuff, you forget he's 22. There's a lot of 22-year-olds in Double-A."

Jose Mesa made things interesting in the ninth, surrendering a run on two hits and a walk before registering his 11th save.

Jim Thome belted his third homer in as many games in the sixth to give Philadelphia a 3-1 advantage, and Bobby Abreu stroked a two-run single in the seventh to pad the lead.

Houston starter Roy Oswalt (2-4) was handed his third straight loss, yielding three runs and six hits in six innings with three walks and six strikeouts.

Richard Hidalgo had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the Astros, who have not won eight in a row since September 3-14, 1999.

Houston's final series at Veterans Stadium concludes Sunday and the Phillies move into a new ballpark in 2004.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to a shaky start by Myers.

Craig Biggio led off with a single and Jeff Bagwell drew a one-out walk. After Jeff Kent grounded out, Myers walked Lance Berkman to load the bases. Hidalgo followed with an RBI single, but Philadelphia left fielder Pat Burrell made a strong throw home and Lieberthal blocked the plate perfectly before tagging Bagwell to end the inning.

Lieberthal evened the game in the second with his 48th career homer at Veterans Stadium, passing Garry Maddox for eighth place on the Phillies' all-time list.

"I was looking for a fastball out over the plate and (Oswalt) kind of hung a curveball," Lieberthal said. "I just reacted to it."

With two outs in the fifth, Placido Polanco plated Ricky Ledee with a single to center, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

In the sixth, Thome blasted a 3-0 offering into the upper deck in right field for his seventh homer. It was just the 21st homer to reach the top tier in right in the history of the Vet and first since Los Angeles' Shawn Green accomplished the feat last season.

"I just didn't know if it was gonna go foul. It stayed on the pole," Thome said. "Those feel nice. I'm not trying to hit upper-deck home runs. Then I'll get in trouble."

"I was trying to get a strike," Oswalt said. "I didn't think that he'd be swinging 3-0. (It was) a fastball away. He was just looking fastball. I'd do the same thing next time, go right after him. I'm not the kind of guy to give in."

The Phillies avoided major damage in the seventh, as three pitchers combined to allow just one run.

Berkman opened the inning with a walk but was erased attempting to move to third on Hidalgo's single to right-center. Brad Ausmus singled to put runners on the corners and end Myers' night.

Terry Adams plunked pinch hitter Orlando Merced to load the bases before Jose Vizcaino hit for Oswalt and delivered an RBI single to shallow center, cutting Houston's deficit to 3-2.

Adams got Biggio to ground into a forceout before lefthander Rheal Cormier retired pinch hitter Morgan Ensberg to end the rally.

"The bullpen's been doing a great job," Myers said. "They come in and save runs for us, and they've been doing that all year. My hat's off to those guys for coming in and taking care of business."

"We still had the bases loaded and a run in," Houston manager Jimy Williams said of Berkman's baserunning blunder. "He slipped. It's just one of those things."

With one on and one out in the bottom of the inning, Jimmy Rollins and Polanco singled to load the bases against Pete Munro . Rookie Nate Bland relieved Munro and allowed Abreu's two-run single that put the Phillies ahead, 5-2.

Hidalgo greeted Mesa with a single in the ninth and took second on a groundout by Ausmus before scoring on pinch hitter Gregg Zaun 's double. Mesa put the tying run on by walking Biggio before fanning Ensberg to nail down the save.


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