Sloppy Phillies Fail to Clinch Playoff Spot

For the second straight night the Phillies looked sloppy in a loss to the Astros Tuesday as they dropped their third straight a 5-2 loss to the Astros.

The loss combined with a Cardinals win kept the magic number to clinch a playoff spot at one for the Phils.

The Phillies as a whole looked unfocused and ho-hum. Starter Cole Hamels (14-8) wasn't sharp as he was roughed up for five runs (four earned) on nine hits and one walk while striking out six in just five innings of work.

The lefty was also hurt by two errors.

Hamels got tagged for a three-run homer by Clint Barmes that came after a Ryan Howard error on a bunt where Hamels was late covering the bag. And John Mayberry, Jr., starting in center, allowed a single to roll under his glove resulting in a three-base play.

This was the first time the Phillies lost three-straight since June.

For the second-straight night a former Phillies hurler with double-digit losses and an inflated ERA shut down the Phightins. J.A. Happ, who was traded to Houston in the Roy Oswalt deal last season, gave up one run -- a solo shot from ex-Astros Hunter Pence -- while allowing four hits and four walks while striking out six Phillies over six innings.

Happ improved to 6-15 and lowered his ERA to 5.59 on the season.

The loss dropped the Phils to a still impressive 30-10 against lefty starters this season.

The Phightins only other run came on a ninth inning homer by Carlos Ruiz.

The Phillies will try to finally clinch a playoff spot and avoid the sweep in the process when they send ace Roy Halladay (17-5, 2.44 ERA) to the hill against righty Bud Norris (6-9, 3.78).

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