Kendrick gave up four runs in five innings while the bats went cold, and the Phillies fell 5-0 to the lowly Astros on Saturday night for their second loss in three games. The win was a feat of sorts for the Astros, who avoided -- at least temporarily -- their 100th loss of the season after reaching the dreadful mark in 2011 for the first time in franchise history. The loss put the Phillies three games back in the race for the second National League wild-card spot, behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. "Tonight was unreal," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We have to keep playing. We got to play better. They outplayed us. They deserved to win the game." The win was a feat of sorts for the Astros, who avoided -- at least temporarily -- their 100th loss of the season after reaching the dreadful mark in 2011 for the first time in franchise history. "We can't afford to lose games," said Kendrick, adding, "It's tough to lose to a team like this." Justin Maxwell hit a two-run home run in the first inning to give the Astros the lead, and they never looked back. Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (2-7) gave up five hits through 5 1/3 innings for his first win since June 23 against Cleveland. "He mixed and matched," Phillies catcher Erik Kratz said. "He made pitches when he needed to." Relievers Mickey Storey, Xavier Cedeno, Hector Ambriz and Wesley Wright combined to complete the shutout for the Astros. Kendrick (9-11) entered the game boasting the second-lowest ERA (2.34) in the majors since the All-Star break. But the Phillies' right-hander seemed to struggle early and was pulled after five innings. He was tagged for four runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked none. Maxwell inflicted major damage early. Facing a full count against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, Maxwell took a hanging changeup deep to left field to score leadoff man Jose Altuve, who had singled. It was Maxwell's team-leading 16th home run of the season. The Astros got Kendrick for runs again in the second and fifth innings. Consecutive singles by Matt Dominguez, Jason Castro and J.D. Martinez to start the second inning loaded the bases for the Astros. Keuchel reached on a fielder's choice that had Dominguez out at home plate. Jose Altuve followed with a grounder to first that Ryan Howard turned into an out at second, allowing Dominguez to score to make it 3-0. Brett Wallace added to the score in the fifth inning with a ground-rule double that scored Keuchel from second to extend the lead to four runs. Keuchel shut out the Phillies through the first five innings, allowing just four hits and four walks. "I don't normally pay attention to the wins and losses, but I looked before the game and saw that we had 99 losses," Keuchel said. "But it's nothing I worry about. I just try to do my job and help the team win." Keuchel walked batters to load the bases in two innings during the span, only to frustrate the Phillies by escaping the jams unscathed. The Phillies banked on a leadoff single by Jimmy Rollins and two walks to load the bases with two outs in the first inning, but Keuchel got Ty Wigginton to fly out to left to end the threat. Keuchel dug himself out of another hole in the fourth inning, further frustrating the Phillies, who by then were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Keuchel walked Dominic Brown with one out, then allowed Erik Kratz a single. Kendrick put the runners in scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and Keuchel walked Jimmy Rollins to load the bases. Keuchel fell behind in the count against Kevin Frandsen before trapping his hard-hit grounder and throwing it to first for the third out. "I'm real happy for Keuchel," Astros manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "He battled out of a couple of tough jams, and I wanted to make sure the kid got a win when he came out. I'm real proud of him." For the Phillies, the lost chances -- they left 12 men on base and were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position -- proved most costly. "We missed some chances," Kendrick said. "But I can't say I did my job either, tonight." NOTES: Manuel said he plans to have C Carlos Ruiz back in the lineup Sunday and every other start from there on out. Ruiz, who played in Friday's 12-6 win, sat out Saturday as he continues to nurse his left foot (plantar fasciitis). ... The Astros will start Tyler Greene at second base Sunday in place of Altuve, who DeFrancesco said can use the rest. ... Philadelphia has not lost consecutive games over its last two weeks, a span of 15 games. The stretch is a season high for the Phillies.
- Kyle Kendrick