Yorman Bazardo pitched 5 2-3 effective innings against the team that cut him in spring training, and helped the Houston Astros beat Philadelphia 8-2 on Monday night, preventing the Phillies from reducing their magic number.
The Phillies, who had an 8 1/2-game lead with 13 remaining, are four ahead of Atlanta in the NL East with six left. The Phillies, who have lost five of seven, still have a magic number of three for their third straight division title.
If the Phillies somehow don't finish first, it will be worse than their infamous collapse in 1964. That year, Philadelphia held a 6 1/2-game lead with 12 to play only to blow the NL pennant by dropping 10 straight.
Miguel Tejada had four hits and Jeff Keppinger had three hits and two RBIs for Houston, which is 5-0 against the Phillies this season.
Bazardo allowed two runs and two hits to earn his third career win and first since Sept. 25, 2007, with Detroit. The 25-year-old right-hander signed with the Phillies as a minor league free agent last December and was released on March 29. He entered with an 11.74 ERA in four starts this season.
Cole Hamels had another rough outing in a disappointing season for last year's World Series and NLCS MVP. He gave up six runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Hamels retired the first two batters in the seventh, before the Astros scored five runs to put the game out of reach.
Michael Bourn singled and was picked off first, but the speedster beat first baseman Ryan Howard's throw to second base. Tejada followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2. After Lance Berkman was intentionally walked, Tyler Walker relieved Hamels. Carlos Lee greeted him with a two-run double. Two batters later, Kazuo Matsui singled in the final two runs.
Hamels cruised through the first three innings, allowing a single to Berkman. He gave up one run in the fourth and two in the sixth.
The Phillies manufactured a run with rare situational hitting in the first. Jimmy Rollins led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a groundout. He scored on Chase Utley's sacrifice fly.
Shane Victorino stole a run for the Phillies in the sixth. He hit a one-out double and moved to third on a groundout. Victorino took a big lead and bluffed running home, causing Bazardo to step off the rubber and commit a balk.