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Oswalt's arm, Berkman's bat allow Astros to salvage twin bill

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt have had their share of problems in the Giants' pitcher-friendly waterfront ballpark, no matter the stadium's name.

Something changed for both Astros stars Thursday night in a venue that has undergone two name changes in four years.

Oswalt pitched 8 1/3 dominant innings and Berkman hit his NL-leading fifth and sixth homers of the season, leading Houston past San Francisco 8-0 to give the Astros a doubleheader split after losing the first game 5-3.

"It's definitely moved up my list of least favorite ballparks to hit in," said Berkman, who stepped into the batter's box in the third inning with two home runs in his last 60 at-bats in San Francisco.

"I guess it's the law of averages," he said. "This is a tough place to hit. It's big in the middle and it doesn't seem like the ball carries well. It's bright. ... It's cold, windy, damp. But you have to put that out of your mind and go out and compete."

Oswalt (2-0) -- winless with a 6.11 ERA in four previous starts here -- gave up eight hits, struck out two and walked three. Fernando Nieve got the final two outs to complete the shutout.

"They had the same game plan as the last three years," Oswalt said. "The only difference was instead of coming back over the plate I was able to throw the ball where I wanted. I came in here and I haven't won here. I thought about it today."

Berkman, who has homered in five of his last seven games, hit a two-run shot to center batting left-handed in the third and added a solo homer to left batting righty leading off the ninth. It was the first time in his career he homered from both sides.

Brad Ausmus had two RBI, three hits and a run scored, and Craig Biggio, Jason Lane and Morgan Ensberg also drove in runs.

Backup catcher Todd Greene singled twice and tripled and Randy Winn had a double among his three hits for the Giants on a night when Barry Bonds, Moises Alou, Mike Matheny and Omar Vizquel weren't in the starting lineup.

Rookie Matt Cain (0-1) matched his career high with eight strikeouts in five innings but fell behind 3-0.

"(Oswalt) controlled the count better than I did," Cain said. "He got ahead of hitters early."

Preston Wilson doubled to start the fourth, then reached third on a wild pitch before Cain gave up back-to-back walks to Lane and Ausmus to load the bases with no outs. Cain then struck out Eric Bruntlett and Oswalt, and got Biggio to ground into a fielder's choice.

Notes

  • Giants LHP Noah Lowry, the No. 3 starter on the 15-day DL with a strained right side muscle, played light catch for the second straight day. He made 75 throws from 50 feet.
  • Moises Alou became the first Giants player to hit his 300th since Bonds in 1996.
  • The last Astros player to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game was Carlos Beltran on July 1, 2004, against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
  • Berkman is the first Astros player since Jimmy Wynn in 1973 to hit six HRs in his first nine games.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Lance Berkman bursts into the National League lead with his fifth and sixth homers of '06.  (Getty Images)
Lance Berkman bursts into the National League lead with his fifth and sixth homers of '06. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
San Francisco

T. Greene
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5111005.257
Willy Taveras, CF5120021.297
Lance Berkman, 1B4223110.344
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4111110.370
Preston Wilson, LF5120012.278
Jason Lane, RF4111101.138
Brad Ausmus, C4032100.261
Eric Bruntlett, SS5120022.500
Roy Oswalt, SP4000124.111
Totals4081485915
BATTING
2B - M Ensberg (2); P Wilson (1); J Lane (1)
HR - L Berkman 2 (6)
RBI - C Biggio (3); L Berkman 3 (14); M Ensberg (3); J Lane (2); B Ausmus 2 (4)
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (W,2-0) 8.18003201.99
Fernando Nieve 0.20000005.40
San Francisco Giants
Randy Winn, RF4030000.321
Steve Finley, CF3000102.231
Ray Durham, 2B4000002.154
Mark Sweeney, LF3000110.200
Pedro Feliz, 3B3010101.241
Todd Greene, C4030001.556
Lance Niekro, 1B4010015.240
Jose Vizcaino, SS4000004.143
Matt Cain, SP1000000.333
a-Jason J. Ellison, PH-CF1000000.000
Kevin J. Correia, SP0000000.000
b-Omar Vizquel, PH-SS1000000.375
Mike Matheny, PH1000002.095
Totals330803217
a-Grounded out for M Cain in the 5th.
b-Grounded out for K Correia in the 7th.
BATTING
2B - R Winn (2); P Feliz (3)
3B - T Greene (1)
San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain (L,0-1) 5.05332815.73
Kevin J. Correia 2.01113006.75
Tyler Walker 1.031101015.00
Jack Taschner 0.143300172.00
Jeff Fassero 0.21000006.23