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Phillies Beaten By Spring Training Cut in Loss to Houston

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Houston starter Yorman Bazardo, cut by the Phillies during spring training, held the Phils to 2 runs and 2 hits in 5 2/3 innings on Monday although walking 4 to notch his first win in almost 2 seasons.  Meanwhile, the Astros pounded lefthander Cole Hamels who gave up a single fourth inning run before being belted for 2 runs in the sixth and 4 more in the seventh.  3 Astros relievers took over for Bazardo holding the Phillies scoreless as 4 of their hitters reached over the final 3 1/3 innings, including on a hit batsman and an infield error, as the Phillies were beaten by a spring training cut in an 8-2 Loss to Houston.

With the loss, the Phillies watched their NL East division lead dwindle to 4 games over 2nd place Atlanta, who beat 3rd place Florida, who remained 7 1/2 games back.  The Phils’ magic number (any combination of Phillies’ wins and/or Braves losses) to clinch the division remains at 3 games.

I’m sorry that this blog may have been perhaps the first to hint at a possible Phillies late-season collapse.  2 days later, the mantra has been picked across the board; from the AP game recap, to’s Bill Conlin,  to  a downplayed version on the Phillies Nation blog to other more or less cloaked versions throughout blogosphere.  And it doesn’t help that the Phils are so far winless in 5 games against the Astros this season.

Phillies Nation’s Brian Michaels provides a recap on another ugly loss:

Hamels cruised through the first three innings, allowing just a single hit after Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley manufactured a run in the bottom of the first.  He coughed up a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth before the Astros really took it to him.  With two outs in the seventh, Michael Bourne singled and stole second.  A Miguel Tejada RBI single and intentional walk later and Hamels gave way to Tyler Walker.  Walker allowed another three runs to score [1 of the runs charged to Hamels] in the inning and with an 8-2 score, the game was out of reach.

Astros’ starter, Yorman Bazardo – whom the Phillies released in Spring Training – kept the Phils’ bats in-check despite allowing a run on a balk.  Chase Utley saw only 8 pitches the entire night as the zombie lineup mustered just four hits.

AP’s sports writer Rob Maaddi provides background on Bazardo for Yahoo sports:

Bazardo (1-2) allowed two runs and two hits to earn his third career win and first since Sept. 25, 2007, with Detroit. The 25-year-old right-hander signed with the Phillies as a minor league free agent last December and was released on March 29. He entered with an 11.74 ERA in four starts this season.

Winning pitcher Bazardo left with 2 out in the sixth after balking in a run — centerfielder Shane Victorino from 3rd base.  3 relievers polished off the Phils the rest of the way. 

The Phils had a scoring chances in the eighth after Victorino’s 2 out triple and after Utley was hit by a pitch.  After Utley moved to 2nd base on fielder’s indifference on a steal attempt, Howard added to his strikeout total with yet another to end the inning.

In the ninth, the Phils had 1st and 2nd base with 1 out on rightfielder Jayson Werth’s single and 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz reaching on an infield error.  But pinch hitter Greg Dobbs grounded into a doubleplay to end the game.

Losing pitcher Hamels threw 103 pitches in 6 2/3 innings giving up 6 runs on 9 hits while walking 3 and striking out 5 and knotting his season record at 10-10 in a sub-par outing.

For the scores of all of Monday’s games, click here.

In Tuesday’s game 2, rookie lefthander J.A. Happ looks toward a clutch start to push the Phils closer to the NL East title.  He is opposed by Wilton Lopez for the Astros.

For all of Tuesday’s games, click here.

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