Philadelphia (62-64) at Houston (63-62)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 25, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies hope Eric Milton can put an end to their slump against the Houston Astros.

Milton shoots for his 14th win of the season as the Phillies try to avoid a sixth straight loss to the Astros.

Milton is looking to join Jason Schmidt (15-4), Roy Oswalt (14-9) and Carl Pavano (14-5) as the fourth pitcher in the NL with at least 14 wins. The veteran left-hander has not lost since June 24, but has only four wins in his last 11 starts.

The Phillies are two games behind the Astros for sixth place in the NL wild-card race.

“As long as the numbers indicate you’re not done yet, you keep battling,” Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa said. “But we’re two games under .500. You’ve got to get to .500 and then go from there.”

Houston has won all five meetings with Philadelphia this season and seven of its last nine overall.

Lance Berkman and Mike Lamb hit RBI singles to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning Tuesday after Roy Oswalt made a rare relief appearance to lift the Astros to a 4-3 win over the Phillies.

Houston manager Phil Garner planned to use Oswalt all along.

“He was going to throw an aggressive bullpen today anyway so we thought, why not use him in the game?” Garner said after his club moved within six game of the Chicago Cubs for the wild card.

“The plan was to use him in the game and I just had to pick my spot.”

Still, the move surprised a lot of people, especially the Phillies.

“We didn’t expect to see him,” outfielder Bobby Abreu said. “He’s a stopper. It was a surprise to everybody.”

Houston has had a hard time closing out games after trading Billy Wagner to the Phillies over the winter and Octavio Dotel to Oakland in July.

Right-hander Brad Lidge has done an excellent job in the closer’s role, but Houston’s middle relievers and setup men have struggled to hold leads late in games.

Lidge has 16 saves in 19 chances.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Milton LAD vs. P. Munro Min
14-6 Record 4-7
4.75 ERA 5.15
161 K 63
75 BB 26
1.35 WHIP 1.46