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Pence’s Homer In 10th Lifts Phillies Over Astros

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Hunter Pence of the Philadelphia Phillies (credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Hunter Pence of the Philadelphia Phillies (credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Hunter Pence let the lead slip away with one big bobble out in right.

He atoned for his error an inning later with one big homer to left.

Pence redeemed himself for a ninth-inning misplay by hitting his second home run of the game, a solo shot in the 10th that lifted the Philadelphia Phillies over the Houston Astros 4-3 Tuesday.

Pence connected off former Philadelphia closer Brett Myers (0-1) with one out to give the Phillies their first three-game winning streak of the season. He was mobbed at the plate in celebration by his easily forgiving teammates while his fielding gaffe was filed to the blooper reel.

Pence’s error in right field while trying to make a throw home allowed Houston to tie it with two outs in the ninth.

“I felt horrible that it happened,” Pence said. “The team really picked me up.”

The NL East champions ended a dubious drought with Pence’s ninth homer of the season. This was the longest stretch of games (37) into a season without a three-game win streak for the Phillies since 1971, when they needed 51 games.

“I’ve never had a hitter like Hunter,” manager Charlie Manuel said, “but he’s a good one.”

Chad Qualls failed to hold a 3-1 lead in the ninth and kept Cliff Lee winless in five starts this season.

Lee allowed one run and struck out 10 over eight strong innings. Jake Diekman tossed 1 1-3 scoreless innings to win his major league debut.

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was shut down for a day after pitching in back-to-back games. That opened the door for a Houston rally against a scuffling bullpen.

Carlos Lee hit an RBI single off Qualls to cut it to 3-2.

Pinch runner Brian Bogusevic kept the rally going when he stole second. J.D Martinez hit a liner to right and got the hold sign at third. Pence let the ball slip out of his hand as he was preparing to throw and Bogusevic sprinted home for the tying run.

“I was charging it hard and I really can’t tell you how it came out of my hand,” Pence said. “I was trying to fire it as hard as I could.”

Jason Castro then doubled to chase Qualls and put runners on second and third.

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