Feliz, Happ help Phillies reduce magic number to 1
Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins (11) is congratulated by manager Charlie Manuel after Rollins hit a home run during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, in Milwaukee.
PHILADELPHIA -- Pedro Feliz hit a grand slam, J.A. Happ pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the Philadelphia Phillies moved closer toward clinching their third straight NL East title with a 7-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The defending World Series champions reduced their magic number for winning the division to one when Atlanta lost shortly afterward to Florida.
Happ (12-4) allowed four runs - three earned - and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, striking out six. He's the first rookie to win 12 games for Philadelphia since Jim Owens in 1959.
Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer and Philadelphia's injury-plagued bullpen tossed 3 1-3 scoreless innings. Jamie Moyer got four outs and Ryan Madson pitched the last two innings for his 10th save in 16 chances. He allowed two hits in the ninth, but he struck out Carlos Lee on a 96 mph fastball and got Hunter Pence looking to end it.
Madson knocked down Pence with a 97 mph fastball on an 0-2 pitch before freezing him with another 97 mph heater.
Moyer landed awkwardly on his final pitch in the seventh and was helped to the dugout by catcher Paul Bako. Center fielder Shane Victorino made an outstanding, twisting catch on Jeff Keppinger's drive as Moyer watched on his hands and knees. Moyer strained his left groin.
Kazuo Matsui and Lance Berkman homered for the Astros, who won the first five meetings between the teams.
Wilton Lopez (0-1) allowed five runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings in his first career start. Lopez had made six relief appearances.
Feliz put the Phillies ahead 5-1 in the fourth when he connected off Lopez for his seventh career slam. Ryan Howard started the inning with an infield single and Raul Ibanez followed with a single. After Werth walked to load the bases, Feliz drove the next pitch to the seats in left for his 12th homer.
A sellout crowd stood and waved their white-and-red "Fightin' Phils" rally towels, giving Feliz a curtain call.
Lee's broken-bat single plated a run in the fifth to cut it to 5-2. The Astros just missed tying the game when the next batter, Pence, flied out to deep center with two runners on. Happ fanned Keppinger to end the inning.
Werth went deep off Wesley Wright to give the Phillies a 7-2 lead in the fifth. Werth, an All-Star outfielder, has 35 homers and 96 RBIs in his first season as a full-time starter.
Matsui hit a two-run shot in the sixth to cut it to 7-4.
The Phillies had lost five of seven coming in, prompting manager Charlie Manuel to hold a closed-door meeting in the clubhouse 3 1/2 hours before the first pitch. Whatever he said worked.
After Berkman put the Astros ahead 1-0 in the third inning with his 25th homer, the Phillies tied it in the bottom half on Jimmy Rollins' RBI double.
NOTES: Pedro Martinez will start Wednesday night for the Phillies and Cliff Lee was pushed back to Thursday. Martinez (5-1) missed his previous start with neck stiffness. The move also puts Lee in position to pitch Game 1 of the NL Division Series. ... Phillies C Carlos Ruiz was a late scratch from the lineup. He's been bothered by a wrist injury. ... Feliz has seven grand slams, two this year. It extended the Phillies' franchise record for slams to 11. ... Astros SS Miguel Tejada extended his hitting streak to 16 games. ... Houston RHP Chad Paronto left after injuring his left hamstring on a pitch to Howard in the seventh.