Phils Win, Astros Lose; Wild Card Lead at One

The Phillies needed a lot of help from the Chicago Cubs this weekend and so far, they're getting it. Chicago beat Houston on their own turf for the second straight night as the Phillies pulled to within one game of the Astros with a 4-3 win over the Nationals at RFK Stadium.

Yes, Jimmy Rollins extended his hit streak to 34 games. Face it, after whether or not the Phillies won, that's the big question.

Rollins' third inning single started a third inning rally that saw the Phillies score two runs to take a 3-1 lead over Washington Friday night. After Rollins led off with a single, he stole second and one out later, scored when Chase Utley lined a base hit to right. Utley would later score on an RBI double from Pat Burrell.

The Phillies first run came on a solo homerun from Ryan Howard that tied the game at 1-1 in the second. The homerun was Howard's 21st of the season as he battles for the National League Rookie of the Year title.

Cory Lidle (13-11) pitched well for the Phillies after overcoming a shaky start. Leadoff hitter Brad Wilkerson opened the bottom of the first with a double and Lidle then hit Jamey Carroll with a pitch to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Ground outs by Nick Johnson and Preston Wilson moved the runners with Wilkerson scoring on Wilson's ground ball out as Washington took a 1-0 lead in the first.

Lidle had to rebound in the fourth. After Wilson and Ryan Zimmerman both singled, Ryan Church hit into a fielder's choice, but Rollins throw got away from Howard, allowing Wilson to score on the play. The unearned run cut the Phillies lead to 3-2. Lidle finished the night pitching 6 2/3 innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits and one walk. He also struck out eight hitters.

Nomar Garciaparra delivered an RBI double in the eighth inning that put the Cubs up 2-1. After Houston went up 3-2 in the eighth, the Cubs rallied for two runs in the ninth off closer Brad Lidge to beat the Astros for the second straight night.
The Phillies scored their fourth run of the night on an RBI single from Kenny Lofton in the sixth. Lofton's hit scored Mike Lieberthal who had singled and went to second on a fielder's choice.

Billy Wagner allowed a run in the ninth, but was able to end a Nationals' rally and record his 37th save of the year. Wagner actually pitched 1 1/3 innings, coming on with two outs in the eighth in relief of Ugueth Urbina.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs beat Houston 4-3 at Minute Maid Park. The loss, combined with the Phillies' win, moved the Phillies to within one game of Houston in the National League Wild Card race. The magic number still stands at two for Houston.

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