Astros Get Better Of Old Friend

Roy Oswalt (Photo: Jeff Curry/US Presswire)

Roy Oswalt would have enjoyed the relative onslaught of offense by the Astros on Monday night, if not for a couple of nagging details.

Oswalt isn't an Astro anymore.

And that onslaught came at the expense none other than Oswalt, whose return to Minute Maid Park as an opposing pitcher was on occasion to dismember more than remember. The Astros worked over Oswalt and defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1.

Oswalt allowed 11 hits and all five Astros runs in seven innings. Astros starter Brett Myers, also facing his original team, limited the Phillies to one run on six hits in eight innings. Rookie J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 and scored three runs, and Carlos Lee hit a two-run homer off Oswalt.

For one night, at least, the team with the worst record in the majors (50-97) had the upper hand on the team with the best record (94-50).

"It's awesome," Martinez said. "You beat a team like that ... world champions a couple years back. They've got a lot of great players on that team."

For one night, at least, the Astros avoided breaking the franchise record for losses in a single season.

"It shows (the young players) we can beat the better teams on any given night," Myers said. "Hopefully they can keep it up and realize we're not as bad as everyone thinks we are."

Since a 14-start winless streak, Myers (5-13) has won back-to-back outings. Two of the hits off Myers were by Hunter Pence, who was making his first appearance at Minute Maid since the Astros traded him on July 29.

"They know me pretty well, and I feel like I know them pretty well, too," Myers said.

"Sometimes you go out there and don't want to throw a pitch because you think they know it's coming, or they have something on you. You just have to try to mix it up and keep them off balance as much as possible."

Oswalt won 143 games for the Astros -- one short of the franchise record -- and was 77-34 with a 2.89 ERA in his previous 149 outings at Minute Maid. The Astros' roster was a combined 9-for-71 (.127) against Oswalt before Martinez led off the fourth inning with a double.

Brian Bogusevic landed a one-out single just in front of Raul Ibanez in left and Jimmy Paredes singled off the glove Pete Orr at second base to bring home one run. A two-out double to right by Humberto Quintero (3-for-4) put the Astros ahead for good. An inning later, Lee hit an 0-2 curveball into the Crawford Boxes short porch in left for a two-run homer.

"It was kind of a sloppy game," Oswalt said. "There were pitches here and there that were pretty good pitches that we didn't make the plays on. It was kind of sloppy. It looked sloppy the whole game."

At least that's how it looked from the vantage point of the dugout opposite the Astros.

Altuve Struggling

Jose Altuve continued his recent struggles, going 0-for-4. In 30 September at-bats, Altuve has only four hits.

Astros manager Brad Mills recently met with Altuve, 3B Jimmy Paredes and LF J.D. Martinez -- all of whom made the jump from Class AA to the majors this season -- to talk about the day-to-day focus required for sustained success.

"When you first come to the big leagues, your focus and concentration, it's tough to get any keener than that," Mills said.

"It's like a razor's edge. The whole thing is new to you. As you go along, as you do some things, it has a tendency to wane a little bit. It's awful hard to keep that concentration at such a high level. ... I told them, 'You guys have probably run across a lot of guys and said, 'That guy is going to be a good major-leaguer.' And all of a sudden, this guy never makes it to the majors, and you say, 'Why?' And the reason is, he's never able to correlate his skills in the majors.' "

Astros' Notes

--LF J.D. Martinez stopped his September swoon by going 3-for-4 off Phillies RHP Roy Oswalt. Martinez entered the game 4-for-31 (.129) in September.

--RHP Brett Myers allowed one run in eight innings against the Phillies, lowering his ERA from 4.66 to 4.52. In three career starts against his original team, he is 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA.

--LHP J.A. Happ was a key component of the trade that sent RHP Roy Oswalt to the Phillies. Happ (5-15, 5.77 ERA) faces his old team Wednesday at Minute Maid Park opposite LHP Cole Hamels (14-7, 2.60). How big a deal is that in a season that hasn't had many auspicious occasions? "I'm not going to try to think of it that way," said Happ, who allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings in his only start against the Phillies last season. "But obviously with my former team, there might be some emotions there. I'll try to keep that stuff in check."

--1B Carlos Lee hit his 16th home run, a two-run shot off Roy Oswalt in the fifth inning. Five of his home runs and 15 of his 83 RBI have come in the last 21 games.

--C Humberto Quintero went 3-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run. He has driven in four runs in the last four games and has lifted his average to .261. Recommended Stories

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