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Updated: Saturday, May 17, 2003 1:33 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Philadelphia Phillies
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
2 11 0
Houston Astros
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
4 11 0
W Dotel (3-1)
L Wendell (0-1)
S Wagner (10)
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HOUSTON 4, PHILADELPHIA 2
 

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The odds were against Turk Wendell coming through again.

Lance Berkman 's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning snapped a tie and led the Houston Astros to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies .

After not allowing a run in his previous 12 appearances this season, Wendell (0-1) was called upon to continue his impressive streak at the start of the eighth inning. But Jeff Bagwell greeted the righthander with a smash to left field for a double, and Jeff Kent singled to put runners on the corners.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa had seen enough and summoned lefthander Rheal Cormier , who entered with a scoreless streak of 17 1/3 innings. Batting righthanded, Berkman slapped a single over third baseman David Bell 's head to plate Bagwell with the go-ahead run.

"It was meaningful just to get a hit," Berkman said. "I hadn't done much in the game. When I see a lefthander warming up in the pen, I know what's coming. ... If Baggie and Kent don't get those hits, I'm not in that situation."

"I don't keep up with those things," Wendell said of his streak. "I just try to go out every night and get guys out. Tonight, I didn't execute and I failed. Tomorrow is a new game. It happens. We're all human."

Octavio Dotel (3-1) worked around two hits in a scoreless inning to get the win, while Billy Wagner earned his 10th save by tossing a perfect ninth, including a strikeout of slugger Jim Thome to end the game.

"All we're asking our starters to do is keep it close, and our offense has been coming up big in the late innings," Wagner said. "I'm getting guys to swing at some pitches they haven't swung at in a while. My first thought (facing Thome) is how far is he going to hit the ball. With a two-run lead, I'm not looking to walk him."

After Berkman put the Astros ahead, Bowa brought in Terry Adams , who induced Richard Hidalgo to bounce into a double play. But Adams uncorked a wild pitch with Gregg Zaun at the plate, allowing Kent to race home for a 4-2 cushion.

The Phillies took the lead early against Houston starter Jeriome Robertson , who allowed two runs and nine hits in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

Jimmy Rollins opened the game with a single and Placido Polanco followed with a double before Jim Thome 's groundout gave Philadelphia a 1-0 advantage. Robertson avoided further damage by striking out Pat Burrell and getting Bobby Abreu on a groundout.

"Robertson did a good job," Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "Robertson's middle innings were his best innings. ... The first inning, a single and double and they only scored one run. That might have been the key inning. The third, fourth and fifth, he seemed to settle down."

"The game was lost in the first five minutes," Bowa said. "We had a chance to put them away and we didn't get it done."

Thome also accounted for the Phillies' second run, slapping a single to right field in the fifth to score Rollins, who stroked a leadoff single and stole second.

Houston evened the game with a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning.

After Philadelphia starter Vicente Padilla retired Adam Everett and Robertson, Craig Biggio singled to right and Geoff Blum belted a 2-1 pitch into the seats in left field for his fourth home run.

"It was a fastball away that I hit away for the first time in my life," Blum said. "I got it better than I anticipated. I'm not known for doing that, hitting it that far the other way."

The Phillies squandered a glorious scoring opportunity in the second. Mike Lieberthal and Bell started the inning with singles before rookie Marlon Byrd struck out. Padilla followed with a single to left, loading the bases for Rollins.

But the Philadelphia shortstop could not get the job done, bouncing back to Robertson for a forceout at the plate. The Astros lefthander ended the threat by getting Polanco on a grounder to shortstop.

Zaun belted a two-out double in the bottom of the inning and Everett singled, but Padilla got Robertson on a comebacker to maintain the Phillies' lead.

In the eighth, Philadelphia threatened against Dotel with two out, as Bell and Byrd singled. Pinch hitter Ricky Ledee nearly put the Phillies ahead with a deep fly ball to right that hooked foul before Dotel blazed the next pitch past him to end the inning.


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