After dropping two straight one-run games to the Astros, the Phils made sure it was going to take 16 runs if Houston was going to pull off that particular feat for a third day in a row. The Phillies cruised behind an offensive explosion this afternoon, overcoming Cole Hamels’ worst start of the year.

Coming off two brilliant starts, Hamels allowed six runs in four innings.

The Phils leave Houston with a big win, but it’s hard to ignore the two tough losses that preceded it. In both of those games the Phils seemed to have the Astros on the ropes late in the game but came away empty.

The Phillies beat the Houston Astros this afternoon, winning 15-6 to improve to 28-24 on the season. The teams split the four-game set.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He didn’t strike out a batter. He has at least four strikeouts in each of his other starts this season.

He got the first two in the first before Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman singled back-to-back. It put men on first and third for Carlos Lee. Lee fouled off a 2-2 pitch and his backswing caught home plate umpire Jerry Crawford in the back of the head. Crawford was unable to continue and the game had to be delayed for 12 minutes. When it resumed, Lee hammered Hamels’ second pitch out to left to put the Astros up 3-0. Hunter Pence popped to second for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 second.

With the game tied at 3-3 in the third, Hamels walked Michael Bourn to start the inning and Kaz Matsui moved Bourn to second with a single. Tejada grounded to short and Matsui was forced at second for the first out, but Utley double-clutched the throw to first so the Phils didn’t get the double-play. With men on first and third and one out, Berkman hit the first pitch of his at-bat into right field for a single. Bourn scored and the Astros led 4-3 with men on first and second. Tejada stole third and scored when Lee grounded to short, making it 5-3. Pence flew to center to end the inning.

Not an error by Utley as the Phils don’t get the double-play on Tejada’s ball, but it cost the Phils a run.

Ty Wigginton led off the fourth with a double with the Phils down 5-4. JR Towles popped to second for the first out before the pitcher Chris Sampson singled to right and Wigginton moved to third. Bourn grounded to short and Sampson was forced at second. Utley made a strong relay this time, but Bourn was just too fast to double-up. Wigginton scored and it was 6-4. Bourn stole second before Matsui grounded to third to end the inning.

Seanez started the fifth with the Phils still down 6-4. He got the first two before Lee walked and stole second. Pence reached on an infield single that moved Lee to third with two down. Wigginton was next and he ripped a ball down the third base line for what would have been a double but was ruled foul. With the exit of the home plate umpire the crew was one ump short and the home plate ump had to make the call on the ball that looked like it went over the bag. He called it foul but was probably wrong. Wigginton walked to load the bases, but Towles grounded to short for the third out.

Romero was up 9-6 when he started the sixth. Mark Loretta doubled to start the inning, but Seanez got the next three.

Up 15-6, Madson threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Madson allowed a two out single to Darin Erstad in the eighth, but got Bourn to pop to short to end the inning.

Condrey threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

Long day for the pen, but in the five innings they pitched the Phils outscored the Astros 11-0. Seanez 24 pitches, Madson 22, Romero 17 and Condrey seven. None of those guys had pitched since Friday so there’s a chance you could see any of them tomorrow night against the Rockies.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Chris Sampson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Jenkins in right against the righty. Ruiz catches.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the first.

Down 3-0 in the second, Burrell walked with one out and Jenkins followed with his third home run of the year. It made the score 3-2. Feliz and Ruiz went down behind him.

Huge hit for Jenkins after the Astros had jumped out to the early lead.

Hamels singled to start the third and moved to third when Rollins followed with a double. Victorino grounded to second for the first out with the runners unable to advance. Utley flew to center deep enough for Hamels to score and tie the game at 3-3 with Rollins going to third. Howard walked, but Burrell popped out for the third out.

With two outs in the fourth, Ruiz doubled and Hamels followed with a single to right that scored Ruiz and cut the Houston lead to 5-4. Rollins flew to left for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fifth.

They started the sixth down 6-4. Burrell led off with a home run just out to left. 6-5. Jenkins singled and moved to third on a double by Feliz. Ruiz singled to right and the runners moved up a base. 6-6 with men on first and third and no outs. Bruntlett hit for Seanez and walked to load the bases. Rollins hit a slow ground ball to second. Matsui wanted to tag Bruntlett and throw to first for the double-play, but Bruntlett did a nice job to stop in between first and second. Matsui threw to first to get Rollins, but Bruntlett was safe at second as Feliz scored to put the Phils up 7-6. Victorino ripped a double down the left-field line. Feliz and Bruntlett both scored to put the Phils up 9-6. Utley grounded to second and Howard flew to left to end the frame.

Burrell doubled to start the seventh and moved to third when Jenkins followed with a single. Taguchi ran for Burrell at third before Feliz hit a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Taguchi scored and it was 10-6. Jenkins went to second. Ruiz tried to bunt and struck out bunting foul for the first out. Dobbs hit for Romero and tripled into the right field corner, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 12-6. It really should have been a double, but when Matsui took the relay from Pence he looked at home and allowed Dobbs to go to third. Rollins grounded to second for the second out before Victorino drove Dobbs home with a single. 13-6. Utley bombed a 2-0 pitch into the second deck in right-center. 15-6. Howard struck out for the third out.

Bunting with Ruiz is pretty absurd there.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the eighth and 1-2-3 in the ninth. Bohn hit for Madson in the ninth and grounded out for the second out.

Rollins was 1-for-6 in the game with a double and an RBI. 7-for-20 with four doubles in the four game series. 321/367/527 on the year.

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. 7-for-20 with a double in the series. 270/325/375 for the season.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI in the series. 2-for-13 in the series. 303/385/616 on the year.

Howard was 0-for-4 with a walk and struck out twice. 5-for-17 with two doubles and two home runs in the series. 204/303/471 for the season. He’s slugging .609 in May.

Burrell was 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and a home run. 5-for-11 with two doubles and three home runs in the series. 283/421/602 for the year.

Jenkins 3-for-5 with a home run. 4-for-14 in the set. 283/318/391.

Feliz was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 6-for-16 with a double in the series. 257/301/434 for the year. He’s hitting 310/341/512 in May.

Ruiz 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. 4-for-13 in the series. 246/310/314. Coste was 2-for-6 in the series and is hitting 329/396/524 for the season.

On Saturday night, the Phillies lost to the Astros 4-3.

Brett Myers got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, all doubles. He struck out two. Over hit last two starts he’s allowed nine doubles in 12 innings.

He started the first up 1-0. Bourn singled and stole second after Matsui struck out. Berkman walked and Lee doubled in both runners to put Houston up 2-1. Pence flew to center for the third out.

He hit Wigginton to start the second, but got a double-play and a ground out to turn the Astros away.

Matsui walked with one out in the third and went to third when Tejada followed with a double. Myers walked Berkman intentionally to load the bases with one out, but got Lee on an inning-ending double-play ground ball to third.

With the Phils up 3-2 in the fourth, Wigginton doubled with one out but Myers got the next two to leave him stranded.

Bourn doubled to start the fifth. Matsui bunted but popped it up to Myers. Tejada flew to center and Bourn went to third. Myers walked Berkman for the third time in five innings. Lee was next and ripped a 1-0 pitch into the left-field corner. Bourn scored to tie the game at 3-3 as Berkman went to third and Burrell threw to second. The ball got away from Utley at second and Berkman stormed home, but Howard picked up the ball as it rolled towards first and threw home. Coste tagged Berkman out to end the inning.

Wigginton reached on an infield single with one out in the sixth. Ausmus flew to left for the second out on a nice play by Burrell near the wall. Burrell threw to first to try to double Wigginton off, but Howard didn’t handle the throw and Wigginton went to second on the play. Miserable defense at first from Howard in the series and it cost the Phils again on Saturday. Mark Loretta hit for the pitcher Brian Moehler and singled into left-center. Wigginton scored to put the Astros up 4-3. Bourn grounded to first for the third out.

Second time in two games a play not made by Howard in which he isn’t charged with an error contributes to the Phillies giving up a run. The Phils lost both of those games by one run.

Durbin started the seventh with the Phils down 4-3. Tejada singled with one out, but Durbin got the next two to turn Houston away.

Durbin pitched the eighth as well. Pence led off with a single but Coste threw him out stealing second. Durbin struck out Wigginton and Ausmus to end the inning.

Again we see Durbin pitch much later in the game, and in a one-run game, than we have during the early parts of the season. Neither Gordon or Romero had pitched on Friday and Manuel called on Durbin to throw 27 pitches in a one-run game.

The Phillies’ lineup against righty Brian Moehler went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Jenkins (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Coste catches against the righty.

With one out in the first, Victorino reached on an error by Berkman and stole second. Utley walked before Howard doubled to left, scoring Victorino to put the Phils up 1-0 with men on second and third. Burrell hit a ball to third and Wigginton came home where Utley was tagged out for the second out. Jenkins popped to second for the third out.

Phils can’t score again after putting men on second and third with one out.

Myers singled with two outs in the second, but Rollins grounded to first for the third out.

With one out in the third, Utley was hit by a pitch. Howard followed and hit a 1-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 3-2. Burrell and Jenkins grounded out behind him.

1-2-3 in the fourth.

Victorino singled with one out in the fifth, but Utley and Howard went down behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth.

Coste and Taguchi, hitting for Myers, went down to start the seventh before Rollins doubled. Victorino grounded to first to end the frame with the Phils down 4-3.

Taguchi doesn’t have a hit in May. 0-for-11. No hits isn’t good, but it’s hard to feel like he’s worth a spot on the roster if he’s going to get so few opportunities. It’s not going to happen with Werth on the DL, or probably ever, but I still think the Phils should consider giving that roster spot to a third catcher.

Still down a run in the eighth, Burrell drew a two out walk and Bohn ran for him at first. Lefty Wesley Wright came in to pitch and Bruntlett hit for Jenkins. Bruntlett grounded to third for the third out.

Jenkins is a better hitter than Bruntlett. I would let him hit against a lefty there if Bruntlett is the other choice.

Feliz and Coste started the ninth with back-to-back singles off of righty Doug Brocail. Ruiz ran for Coste at first and Dobbs hit for Durbin. Brocail stepped off the rubber and threw to second, but there was nobody covering second. The runners moved to second and third with two outs. Dobbs fisted a ball to shallow center for the first out. Rollins was walked intentionally to load the bases. Victorino got ahead 2-0 and hit a fly ball to left and Feliz tagged and tried to score. Darin Erstad made a strong throw home without a cut, slightly up the first base line. Ausmus took the throw and tagged Feliz out on a close play as Feliz slid into home to end the game.

I’ve heard some criticism today about the 2-0 pitch that Victorino swung at. It may not have been a good pitch to hit, but at least it looks to me like it was a strike. The result was unfortunate, but I don’t have a problem with Victorino swinging at the pitch.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double.

Victorino 1-for-5.

Utley 0-for-2 with a walk.

Howard 2-for-4 with a double and a home run and drove in all three of the Phillies’ runs.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk.

Jenkins 0-for-3.

Feliz 1-for-4.

Coste 1-for-4.

Jamie Moyer (4-3, 4.37) faces lefty Jorge De La Rosa (1-2, 7.78) tomorrow night as the Phils play the first of three against the Rockies in Philadelphia. De la Rosa has made four starts for the Rockies this year and hasn’t gone six innings in any of them. It will be interesting to see what the Phillies do in right without Werth against the lefty. Moyer is 2-0 in his last two starts and has allowed three runs over 12 2/3 innings.