Phillies 3, Astros 1

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HOUSTON (AP)—Kevin Millwood knew what he had to do.

With Philadelphia’s bullpen overworked and exhausted, Millwood threw a six-hitter for his second complete game of the season as the Phillies beat the Houston Astros 3-1 Sunday night.

“We had a piece of paper saying who was available and our bullpen was pretty well decimated,” manager Larry Bowa said. “I said, `You know the drill,’ and he said, `Yeah.”’

Millwood (6-1) struck out four and walked one. He is 4-0 in his last six starts, including his first career no-hitter on April 27 against San Francisco. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his last six starts and has an ERA of 1.64 in those games.

Pat Burrell had an RBI triple, Jimmy Rollins had an RBI single and David Bell walked with the bases loaded for Philadelphia, which won the season series 4-2. It was the Phillies’ first series victory against Houston since 1997.

The most impressive part of Millwood’s performance may have been that he didn’t have his best stuff.

“My breaking ball wasn’t great,” Millwood said. “Nothing was very good but all of my pitches were pretty good. When you go out there with four pretty good pitches, you should do well.

Bowa said he wasn’t surprised Millwood gave the tired Philadelphia relievers some rest.

“He’s been doing that for us all year,” Bowa said. “That’s about the third time he’s done that. The night before he pitched the no-hitter it was that way.”

Philadelphia got all the runs it would need in the first inning off Houston starter Tim Redding (3-3).

Redding walked Jim Thome with two outs and Burrell drove him in with a triple to center. Houston center fielder Craig Biggio, attempting to catch Burrell’s hit, fell while running up the small hill in center and the ball dropped out of his reach.

Redding—who has struggled with control this season—walked the next three batters, forcing home another run to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead. Redding settled in after his rough start and retired the last eight men in a row before leaving after six innings. He allowed three hits, three runs and had five walks and five strikeouts.

“When you’re going in to face their staff ace you’ve got to be on your game,” Redding said. “To come back and pitch six innings is gratifying after that first inning. But at the same time, if you take away those four walks in the first inning, I could have probably gone eight innings.”

Rollins drove in a third run with an RBI single in the fourth inning.

Millwood gave up three hits and his only run in the first inning. Biggio led off with a double to center and scored on Jeff Kent’s infield hit.

Millwood retired 13 of 14 batters until Biggio hit a one-out double to left field in the eighth inning. Millwood then struck out Geoff Blum and got Jeff Bagwell on a ground out to end the inning.

“Every time I go out I want to pitch deep in the ball game and he (Bowa) knows it,” Millwood said. “I don’t want to come out of the game. When you pitch through the eighth, you want to pitch the ninth.”

Redding benefited from solid defense. Bagwell leaped to snag a high throw and tagged out Placido Polanco for the third out in the second inning. Rightfielder Orlando Merced made a running catch at the wall on a fly by Thome.

Notes

Brian Moehler will throw the first of three rehab assignments in New Orleans on Monday, continuing his recovery from tendinitis in his right elbow. … Billy Wagner needs one save to tie Mitch Williams (192 career saves) for fifth place on the all-time list. … The Phillies have allowed 40 stolen bases and caught only five baserunners attempting to steal. Brad Ausmus stole second in the second inning off catcher Mike Lieberthal, who has thrown out two of 26baserunners.

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