Jimmy Rollins started it with a bang. Jeremy Horst ended it with a punchout. That was the way the Phillies dismantled the Astros one night after they stunned them with an eighth-inning rally.
In addition to downing the Astros, the Phillies kept their playoff hopes alive by returning to the plus side of the win column and gaining on the Brewers and Pirates in the wildcard standings.
The Phillies also got a great starting pitching performance from Cole Hamels, good enough to give some heavily worked pieces of the bullpen a much-needed day off.
Jimmy Rollins wasted no time getting the Phillies on the board. He hit the fifth pitch of the game out to right field for his 42nd career lead-off home run and 20th home run of the season.
The Phillies would add three more runs in the inning on an RBI single by Chase Utley, and RBI double by Ryan Howard and an RBI single by John Mayberry Jr.
The Astros answered quickly with an unearned run on a throwing error by Rollins in the first.
But Hamels held the Astros off the board in the second and third.
In the fourth, the Phillies added another run on an RBI single by Kevin Frandsen. That was answered by a two-run home run from Matt Downs to cut the Phillies' lead to two.
But the Phillies got those runs back on a two-run single by Mayberry in the fifth. Despite Justin Maxwell adding a solo shot in the fifth, the Phillies kept piling on, getting a two-run home run from Domonic Brown in the sixth and three runs in the eighth.
Hamels lasted seven innings allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits. He walked on and struck out eight.
Justin De Fratus and Jeremy Horst each allowed runs in the eighth and ninth, but the Phillies had built up a large enough lead to easily down the Astros with a 12-6 win.
After getting a 4-0 lead, the Phillies showed they wouldn't settle for the minimum. Unlike last night's loss, the Phillies continued to pile on against a weak Astros' pitching staff and rolled to a win.
After the win, the Phillies had already gained ground on the Brewers and Pirates in the wildcard, passing the Brewers and tying the Pirates. The Dodgers and Cardinals were still in action.
The Phillies can be no worse than four games back with 17 games left to play. It would be nice if that margin was down to three again, especially with a red-hot Kyle Kendrick and Roy Halladay pitching the last two games of the series. But the bottom line is that the Phillies responded the way I and I'm sure many of you had hoped after last night's disappointment.
There was no hangover. No feelings of being dead again. Instead, there was life. And that's what keeps the Phillies' dream alive and well for another night.Kevin Durso is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.