HOUSTON -- If nothing else, the Houston Astros can try to play spoilers down the stretch.
Houston continued to play well against playoff contenders Thursday night, defeating Philadelphia 6-4 to snap the Phillies' season-high seven-game winning streak and drop Philadelphia to 3 1/2 games back in the National League wild-card race pending the result of the St. Louis Cardinals-Los Angeles Dodgers game.
Jed Lowrie hit a two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning to give the Astros the lead, and Matt Dominguez homered for the Astros, who took a three-game series at Cincinnati last weekend.
"When you're a team where we're at, just trying to play the season out, you've got to try to motivate them," Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "We could factor into the end of the season here. Hopefully people will say they're (Astros) starting to play good and they've got some life and some energy and they're in the right direction. That's what we want."
Astros starter Lucas Harrell gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits with five walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. While Harrell was walking to the dugout after being pulled in the sixth, he was ejected by plate umpire Bill Miller after giving Miller a few choice words.
Harrell said he pitched horribly and was frustrated with his performance.
"I couldn't throw anything for a strike," Harrell said. "The guys battled. We won this game because of them. I felt like my performance today was pretty bad."
Houston, which has the worst record in the majors (46-98), took the lead with a two-out rally in the eighth. Dominguez walked, and pinch hitter Scott Moore was hit by a pitch from Phillippe Aumont (0-1). Lowrie, another pinch hitter, followed with a two-run double to the right-center gap off Jake Diekman.
Lowrie came off the disabled list Tuesday after injuring his right leg July 14.
"That's why I came back," Lowrie said. "Obviously, I wanted to get back as quickly as I could, but with the intention of doing stuff like this, not just playing. It's nice to come back and help the team win."
Brandon Barnes singled up the middle to score Lowrie, and Jose Altuve singled and stole second. Diekman, however, struck out Brian Bogusevic to end the inning.
The runs ended the Phillies' bullpen scoreless streak at 21 innings.
Aumont, who was pitching in his third straight game and fifth in five days, said he felt a little tired, but he needed to step up.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Aumont looked gassed.
"The more he stayed out there, you could see that he didn't have the stuff he had yesterday," Manuel said.
Winning pitcher Wesley Wright (1-2) threw two-thirds of inning, allowing a hit and a walk with a strikeout. Wilton Lopez pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.
The Phillies had a chance to extend their lead in the sixth after a pinch-hit single by Pete Orr and consecutive singles by Jimmy Rollins and Juan Pierre loaded the bases and chased Harrell. Xavier Cedeno, however, got Chase Utley to ground out to second to end the inning.
"The percentages in baseball, sooner or later you are going to get beat," Manuel said. "At the same time, I didn't mean for it to happen tonight. We had a chance to win the game; it was sitting right in front of us. The bottom line is that we didn't add on runs, but we didn't execute, either."
Phillies starter Tyler Cloyd lasted three-plus innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Cloyd has allowed seven runs on 13 hits in only seven innings in his last two starts.
Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by Erik Kratz. The double snapped Kratz's 0-for-16 slump.
In the third inning, Ryan Howard increased the lead to 2-0 with a sacrifice fly, and John Mayberry Jr. followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0. An error on right fielder Jimmy Paredes allowed Mayberry to go to second.
After Domonic Brown walked, Kevin Frandsen extended the lead to 4-0 with a run-scoring single. Harrell struck out Kratz to end the inning.
Houston cut the lead to 4-3 and chased Cloyd on Dominguez's three-run home run in the fourth, scoring Justin Maxwell and Jason Castro, who had opened the inning with singles.
NOTES: Astros pitcher Mickey Storey, who suffered contusions to his right hand and right jaw after being hit by a Dave Sappelt line drive in Wednesday's game against the Chicago Cubs, said he was fine. Houston manager Tony DeFrancesco said the team would keep Storey out a couple days. ... Philadelphia entered Thursday's game leading the majors in both stolen-base percentage (82.9 percent) and in catchers' caught-stealing rate (39 percent). The Phillies stole two bases without being caught, and Kratz threw out one of three Astros who attempted to steal bases.
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