Astros complete late rally to cool off Phillies

Astros complete late rally to cool off Phillies

Astros complete late rally to cool off Phillies
HOUSTON -- Who says the Astros can't have a little fun in the thick of a pennant race?

Sure, it was the Phillies who rolled into town on a seven-game winning streak and with more to play for than the Astros at this point in the season, but that didn't stop the local boys from playing the role of spoiler. And doing it in dramatic fashion.

Jed Lowrie -- in only his second game since missing 52 games with a leg injury -- came off the bench and delivered a two-run, go-ahead double as the Astros rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to stun the Phillies with a 6-4 win Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

"That's why I came back," Lowrie said. "Obviously I wanted to get back as quickly as I could with the intention of doing stuff like this, not just playing. It's nice to come back and help the team win. That's what I'm here to do."

The Astros, who improved to 6-6 in September after going 5-22 in August, once again got contributions from all over the place.

The bullpen came through with 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Lucas Harrell, and Matt Dominguez slugged a three-run home run in the fourth inning after the Phillies had built a 4-0 lead. Jose Altuve and Brandon Barnes had two hits apiece.

"That was exciting, just the way the guys came back down 4-0 against a team that's trying to get to the playoffs and had won seven in a row," interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "That's a team effort. At the end of the game, we're in the clubhouse and there's four or five relievers shaking hands, and everybody got involved."

Houston reliever Wesley Wright (1-2), who threw two-thirds of an inning for the win, said there was a lot of satisfaction in slowing Philadelphia's roll.

"The fact [that] they come with a lot riding on the line and we have a chance to derail that and finish the season on a positive note for ourselves, it's a good victory all the way around," he said. "The guys realize it's the last month of the season and our last chance to show what we have in front of the people that make the decisions going into the offseason."

DeFrancesco isn't unlike many of his players, fighting for a job next year. He's in the running for the full-time manager's spot, and the team's recent improved play could only help his chances. He's more thrilled for the players than anything else.

"We could factor into the season here, and hopefully we'll get our name on MLB TV and they'll say 'Hey, the guys are starting to play good and they have some life and some energy,'" he said. "They're going in the right direction. We want to get people back in the stands and come out and support us again."

The Astros were trailing, 4-3, entering the eighth when Dominguez drew a two-out walk and Scott Moore was hit by a pitch, which spelled the end of the line for reliever Phillippe Aumont (0-1). Pitcher Jordan Lyles ran for Moore.

"Our goal was we didn't want to see [closer Jonathan] Papelbon," DeFrancesco said. "We knew if we didn't score there it would be tough in the ninth, but they battled through it. There were some guys throwing with some great arms, good velocity. We matched up nice and got a couple of big hits."

The Phillies brought in lefty reliever Jake Diekman to turn Lowrie around to the right side of the plate, and Lowrie sent the first pitch he saw into the right-field gap to score a pair of runs. Barnes followed with an RBI single for his second hit in as many innings to stretch the lead to 6-4.

"We had a chance to win the game sitting there in front of us," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "The bottom line is that we didn't add on runs and we didn't execute, either."

Dominguez's three-run homer -- his third three-run shot in the last seven games -- got the Astros back into the game.

"We just happened to get some guys on base and got a good pitch to hit and got it on the barrel and it went out of the park," Dominguez said. "It's been nice coming up here helping this team win and do all I can."

Harrell pitched 5 2/3 innings, leaving one out shy of his fourth consecutive quality start. He allowed seven hits and four runs (three earned) and tied a season high with five walks. He was ejected leaving the mound for arguing some tight calls with plate umpire Bill Miller.

"I pitched horrible, but the guys battled," Harrell said. "You can't say enough about the clubhouse, from everybody that came into the game to the relievers -- we won this game because of them. I felt like my performance today was pretty bad, it was embarrassing, it wasn't what I wanted. I'm trying to end here on a strong note, and I just haven't thrown the ball well and it's frustrating."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.