Houston (18-18) at Philadelphia (22-15)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun May 11, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Astros will likely never set foot in Veterans Stadium again. All the more reason for them to avoid a sweep when they conclude their weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Barring the teams meeting in the playoffs, the Astros will not return to the Vet again in 2003. The Astros are 81-98 all-time at the 32-year-old stadium, which is closing at season’s end.

The Astros find themselves staring at three straight losses because they couldn’t solve Randy Wolf on Saturday. Wolf tossed a five-hitter for his fifth career shutout as the Phillies won 2-0.

“I’ve seen him pitch games like this,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “He doesn’t surprise me any more. He’s one of the best left-handers in the league, believe me.”

Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal drove in first-inning runs for Philadelphia.

Houston lost starter Wade Miller in the first inning when he was struck on the right thigh by a line drive off the bat of Jim Thome.

“It didn’t really hurt at first,” Miller said. “It took a little while for it to sink in. I knew I was going to feel pain after a while. I thought I could have stayed in—at least check it out—but (manager Jimy Williams) pulled me.”

Much to the delight of Williams, the Astros’ bullpen was sharp, pitching 8 2-3 shutout innings.

“They kept the game where, even though Wolf was as tough as he was, we still had a chance,” Williams said. “We still had the tying run at the plate in the ninth.”

STANDINGS: Astros - 3rd place, 2 GB, NL Central. Phillies - 3rd place, 2 1/2 GB, NL East.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Kirk Saarloos (0-0, 18.00 ERA). Saarloos will be making his second start of the season when he faces the Phillies for the first time in his career. He lasted a career-low two innings Tuesday against Pittsburgh, allowing five runs and four hits.

PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Vicente Padilla (3-4, 3.97 ERA). Padilla is trying to snap a three-game losing streak. The right-hander allowed seven runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 10-1 loss to Arizona on Monday. Padilla last won on April 19, pitching a four-hit shutout against Atlanta.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Astros - Jeff Kent, .313 avg.; Jeff Bagwell, 11 HRs; Kent and Bagwell, 24 RBIs; Craig Biggio, 25 runs; Richard Hidalgo, 4 SBs. Phillies - Lieberthal, .357 avg.; Thome, 7 HRs and 27 RBIs; Jimmy Rollins, 28 runs and 4 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 2-0.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Astros - OF Biggio is 4-for-5 with two doubles in his career against RHP Padilla. … RHP Brandon Puffer extended his scoreless string to 8 1-3 innings after hurling 3 2-3 on Saturday. … Houston had won a season-high seven straight before dropping the first two games of the series. Phillies - LHP Cole Hamels, the Phillies’ top draft pick last season, was promoted to Class A Lakewood on Saturday. He struck out 13 of 17 in an extended spring training game on Thursday. … RHP Padilla is 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in six career games against Houston. … 3B Tyler Houston is 1-for-2 with a homer in his career against RHP Saarloos.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Astros - 6-11 on the road; Phillies - 12-6 at home.

INJURIES: Astros - LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (forearm), 15-day DL. Phillies - RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Hector Mercado (hamstring), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Saarloos Cle vs. V. Padilla Bos
2-1 Record 14-12
4.93 ERA 3.62
43 K 133
17 BB 62
1.46 WHIP 1.24