Myers beats Philliess
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - So, what's the baseline?
Brett Myers threw seven sharp innings against his former team, Carlos Lee hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth and the Houston Astros took advantage of a controversial call to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 on Monday night.
The wild card-leading Phillies, who entered 2 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East, lost for just the sixth time in their last 30 home games.
Down 2-1, the Astros rallied in the eighth against Ryan Madson (4-2). Another pair of former Phillies got things started, helping Myers (9-7) win his first start against Philadelphia.
Pinch-hitter Jason Michaels led off the eighth with a single. Michael Bourn then reached on a drag bunt, barely avoiding Ryan Howard's diving tag and causing manager Charlie Manuel to get ejected by first-base umpire Greg Gibson.
With a sellout crowd chanting "Charlie! Charlie!" and second baseman Chase Utley pointing to the spot where Bourn appeared to step out of the baseline, Manuel got tossed for making his case. Utley, who rarely argues, then briefly exchanged words with Gibson.
After Angel Sanchez sacrificed the runners, Madson fanned Hunter Pence for the second out. But Lee lined a single to left to give the Astros a 3-2 lead.
Afterward, Manuel and some of his players were fuming that Bourn wasn't called out of the baseline. Making it worse, Gibson tossed Manuel from a game against Cleveland on June 24 for arguing a similar play the opposite way. Gibson called Shane Victorino out of the baseline as he dove into first base to avoid a tag.
"He went out of the baseline, but (Gibson) didn't see it that way," Manuel said.
When Gibson was asked for a comment by a pool reporter, crew chief Sam Holbrook said umpires are not allowed to talk per major league baseball's instructions. However, umpires have discussed controversial calls several times this season.
Howard said players have a difficult time understanding the baseline rule.
Rule 7.08 states: A runner's baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.
"They have to come up with some kind of consistency for the rule," Howard said. "Everybody isn't sure. There's a lot of gray area. There is no understanding."
Pitching in a steady drizzle, Myers gave up two runs and nine hits, striking out nine. Myers has pitched at least six innings in each of his 26 starts, tying Larry Dierker's franchise record. It's the longest streak to start a season since Curt Schilling had 35 straight in 2002.