Phillies 11, Astros 4

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Jimmy Rollins almost hit for the cycle. Chase Utley nearly hit the fans trying to buy a late-game snack.

The Phillies’ offense is booming as they shake off a horrible start.

Rollins hit a leadoff homer and fell a double shy of the cycle, and Philadelphia had a season-high 20 hits in an 11-4 win over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

“The bats the last week or so have started to come around,” Aaron Rowand said. “We’ve got to continue on and keep doing what we’re doing.”

Utley connected for his fourth homer, a drive that cleared the brick wall that stands about 20 feet beyond the center-field fence. The estimated 460-foot homer sent the crowd into a rare frenzy, and put an exclamation point on Philadelphia’s second home win in seven games.

After starting the season 4-11, the Phillies have won three in a row.

Rollins homered, tripled, singled and drove in two runs in his first three at-bats, leading the Phillies to their first three-game winning streak following a 4-11 start.

Needing a double in the seventh to complete the cycle, Rollins lined a single off reliever Dave Borkowski to wrap up a four-hit game. He scored on Shane Victorino’s two-run double that put the Phillies up 9-4.

Utley added his two-run shot that landed in Asburn Alley, an outdoor entertainment area. Ryan Howard had been the only other player to reach the popular concession stand area.

“I was like, `Wow, my goodness,”’ said Victorino, who was on second base. “We saw Ryan do it last year, but I mean, that was something.”

Victorino, Wes Helms and Pat Burrell had three hits each for the Phillies. Philadelphia scored 20 runs with 32 hits in the last two games.

“We needed to score some runs and we just stayed after it,” Rollins said. “We know we have a good offense. We’re hoping that as the weather gets warmer, we’ll keep seeing it.”

Craig Biggio also hit a leadoff homer, the first time this season leadoff batters went deep in the same game.

Every player on the Astros and Phillies wore jersey No. 42, without their name on the back.

After pregame ceremonies honoring Jackie Robinson Day, a tribute delayed eight days because of an April 15 rainout, Biggio hit Adam Eaton’s first pitch of the game into the left-field stands for his 51st career leadoff home run. Rollins tied it against Chris Sampson (2-1) with his 19th career leadoff homer.

Rollins visited with Robinson’s son, David, before the game and talked about Jackie Robinson’s legacy.

“It was great being out there and having a chance to wear that number,” he said.

Sampson gave up seven runs and 14 hits in four-plus innings, his ERA rising from 1.20 to 4.26. He couldn’t hold leads in the first, second and fourth innings.

Eaton (2-1) gave up four runs and six hits in the first three innings, then didn’t allow another run in the next three innings. Eaton struck out seven and was chased after he walked pinch-hitter Morgan Ensberg opening the seventh.

“We got the ball up and they didn’t miss too many of them,” Astros manager Phil Garner said.

Lance Berkman hit a solo shot in the third for the Astros that tied it at 4.

With runners on the corners, Utley hustled down the line and beat out a potential double-play grounder in the fourth to make it 5-4. Helms and Rowand added RBI singles later in the inning for a 7-4 lead.

Then the bats really got going. They had 20 hits in a game for the first time since Sept. 2, and all nine starters had at least one hit. Utley’s homer made him the last starter to get one.

“Now they’re swinging the bats,” Garner said. “You knew they were going to hit. They’re getting hits now. They’re jumping all over mistakes.”

Notes

C Ryan Budde, who had been acquired by the Phillies in the winter-meeting draft, was returned to the Los Angeles Angels. Budde began the season on the disabled list with a left oblique strain. … Each team won a game in the original three-game set. The Astros took the opener 9-6 and the Phillies won the second game 8-5. … It was the first time two leadoff men homered in the same game since Aug. 17, 2006, when it happened twice on the same day. … Rowand has an 11-game hitting streak. … Phillies manager Charlie Manuel won his 400th career game.

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