Wed Aug 25 02:16am EDT
But he came in handy there, anyway.
With no position players remaining, Howard's replacement needed to be a pitcher — and one of the seven who hadn't played in Tuesday night's already wild game.
Enter Oswalt, who never had played a position other than pitcher in his 13 seasons as professional, including 10 in the majors. He wasn't pitching in the series against his old club, so he grabbed a glove and went to left field. Raul Ibañez, who has some experience at first base, moved there.
Manuel said he chose Oswalt for his athleticism, but it still made for a funny looking defensive alignment. Not since Bill Wilson in 1971 had a Phillies pitcher played another position.
As if on queue, Houston's Jason Castro(notes) hit a fly ball to left, which Oswalt caught for the first out out the 15th. A baseball axiom that the ball always finds its way to someone playing out of position came true again.
Fans at Citizens Bank Park — already experiencing one of the wildest games of the season — gave a standing "O" to Roy O.
In the bottom of the 16th, Oswalt — a .158 career hitter — came to bat representing the go-ahead run.
Wow that got so wild you couldn't help but laugh out there. Loudest chant of the year in the 16th inning and its "Let's go Oswalt."
After smartly taking two pitches out of the strike zone by right-hander Jeff Fulchino(notes), Oswalt made the last out of the game by hitting a grounder to third. After 5 hours, 20 minutes, the Astros won 4-2 in 16 innings.
A pitcher having to play the outfield is unusual, though it's certainly not unprecedented. Earlier this season, Kyle Lohse(notes) of the St. Louis Cardinals actually made two putouts and played three innings in the outfield during a 20-inning marathon.
This Phillies-Astros game had other moments, as well.
Howard did not speak to the media, and neither did Oswalt. The Phillies, for the second straight night, were seething about disputable calls by umpires not going their way.
Of his slugger, Manuel said: "I've seen him mad, but never upset like that."
* * *
Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave