Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Phils, 'Stros Split Four Close Games

The division-leading Phillies came into the Astrodome and faced the tenacious Astros, who seem to stay in every game despite not much power. The teams split the series, and each game was closely fought. The Phils are now 22-10, while the Astros move to 18-15.

Game 1: PHI 2, HOU 1 (12 innings)
W: Lerch (4-1)
L: Zamora (0-1)
MVP: Luzinski

The game's biggest explosion came in the third, when the Phils' Jim Lonborg hit Joe Ferguson. The enraged catcher charged the mound and a brawl ensued, leading to the departure of both Lonborg and Ferguson.  After that, the offense remained calm for both sides, as it went into the 12th with a 1-1 tie, thanks to Greg Luzinski's sixth big fly. New Astro Oscar Zamora lit the fuse in the 12th, allowing a triple to Larry Bowa (who had two in the series) and a scorching single from Garry Maddox to win it.

Game 2: HOU 1, PHI 0
W: Lemongello (3-3)
L: Carlton (4-2)
MVP: Lemongello

The burly catcher gets ejected and scores the winning run the next day.
An improbable game. Inconsistent and fiery Mark Lemongello outpitched the storied Steve Carlton in a complete-game two-hitter. And a 0-0 tie was broken in the bottom of the ninth off Carlton. After giving up a double to Joe Ferguson, the burly 1-rated runner turtled home on a single from banjo-hitting shortstop Roger Metzger, who came into the at bat with a .176 average.

Game 3: HOU 2, PHI 1
W:  Andujar (7-1)
L: Lerch (4-2)
S: Dixon (4)
MVP: Andujar

A tired Randy Lerch, who pitched in relief in the long Game 1, gave up two Houston runs in the first, off RBI singles from Bob Watson and Art Howe. Joaquin Andujar was a bit wild for Houston, giving up six walks in seven innings, but held on for his league-leading seventh win. Tom Dixon was devastating in two innings of relief, and Philadelphia could only scratch out five hits.

Game 4: PHI 3, HOU 0
W: Christenson (4-3)
L: J. Niekro (2-5)

Larry Christenson was dominant. The Phillies' control pitcher only allowed five Houston hits in a complete game shutout, with no walks and four Ks. Mike Schmidt provided the damage with his seventh homer and had two RBIs.


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