Houston at San Francisco

Scoreboard
Houston (24-18) «0003000418132
San Francisco (17-25)2041000007120

Berkman dumps No. 15 in McCovey Cove to cap Astros' comeback

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Lance Berkman is going to ride this hitting tear he's on as long as possible. Same goes for Houston manager Cecil Cooper, who continues to be amazed by his club's gutsy play.

Berkman splashed his major league-leading 15th home run into McCovey Cove to break a ninth-inning tie, helping the Astros rally past the San Francisco Giants 8-7 on Thursday for their 11th win in 13 games.

Houston already has come from behind to win 13 times this year.

"We'll take as many as we can get," Berkman said. "It seems like we're never out of it. That might be the best comeback I've seen since I've been here."

Houston rebounded from a 6-0 deficit to take three of four from the Giants, its first series win in San Francisco since a three-game sweep in September 2001. The Giants hadn't blown a six-run lead since Sept. 8, 2000, against San Diego, while the Astros came back from six runs down for the first time since May 9, 2000, vs. Colorado.

"I don't know. It's just amazing," Cooper said. "I'm hanging along for the ride. They keep doing it. They don't quit."

Berkman also hit a two-run single and is riding a 14-game hitting streak. He went 7-for-15 (.467) with three homers and seven RBI during the series.

Pinch-hitter Darin Erstad hit a tying, three-run homer in the eighth and Carlos Lee also homered in the inning off Tyler Walker, who faltered on his 32nd birthday. Berkman connected off Vinnie Chulk (0-2) for the first splash-hit homer by an Astro and the 16th by a Giants opponent.

Barry Bonds, the indicted home run king, hit 35 into the water beyond the right-field fence.

"I mean, what a distinction, what an honor," Berkman joked about his water shot. "That's pretty big."

Tim Byrdak (2-0) got two outs for the win and Jose Valverde struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 14 opportunities. Byrdak hasn't allowed a run in 11 outings this year.

Erstad's drive to the right-field arcade marked his first career pinch-hit homer and the first for the Astros this season. It also spoiled a strong start by San Francisco's Tim Lincecum.

"We're having a tough time keeping the ball in the ballpark," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "These are games we need to close out."

San Francisco's Randy Winn doubled twice among his three hits and scored two runs. He has a 10-game hitting streak and needs one double for No. 300 of his career.

Aaron Rowand drove in two runs for the Giants, who got five straight hits off starter Chris Sampson to start the third on an unusually hot spring day in the Bay Area. It was 95 degrees at first pitch - the second-hottest day in the ballpark's 9-year history and the third game when the temperature reached 90.

Omar Vizquel singled in his first three at-bats to give him 2,606 hits, moving him past Tim Raines for seventh place among switch-hitters. John Bowker hit a two-run double and added a sacrifice fly for the Giants.

Houston's Hunter Pence extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double in the fourth, then Berkman followed with his two-run single. Mark Loretta also had an RBI single in the inning.

Alex Hinshaw, called up from Triple-A Fresno earlier in the day, relieved Walker to make his major league debut and struck out Michael Bourn before allowing a single to Kaz Matsui and giving way to Chulk.

"Basically, you can blame me for losing this game," Walker said. "No way Vinnie should pitch in that game. There were six outs to go with a four-run lead. I know the Astros are a good hitting team, but that's our job. It's something you have to come back from."

Lincecum walked Berkman to start the second but that was his only baserunner until Matsui's single to start the fourth. Lincecum struck out 10 for his fourth career game with 10 or more Ks and second this year. He allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in six innings.

"He had just a little blip on the radar there," Berkman said. "He's got as good of stuff as I've ever seen."

Rowand's high chopper in the first got past shortstop Loretta for an error and an RBI, allowing Vizquel to score from third for a 1-0 lead. Regular starting shortstop Miguel Tejada took his first day off of the season for Houston before pinch-hitting in the ninth.

The Astros will conclude their season-long, 10-game road trip with three interleague games at Texas starting Friday.

Notes

  • Astros reliever Geoff Geary left with a strained right groin.
  • Houston stole three bases, including the seventh of the year by Berkman, to extend its major league lead to 45.
  • Vizquel had three or more hits for the 176th time in his 20-year big league career.
  • Houston 3B Ty Wigginton was held out of the lineup for the third straight game after getting hit in the left ribcage area Monday, but is expected to return Friday.
 
Copyright 2014 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's major league-leading 15th homer completes Houston's rally from 6-0 down.  (AP)
Lance Berkman's major league-leading 15th homer completes Houston's rally from 6-0 down. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
San Francisco

O. Vizquel
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5000021 .181
Kazuo Matsui, 2B4130100 .283
Hunter Pence, RF4110113 .286
Lance Berkman, 1B4223112 .391
Carlos Lee, LF5131020 .289
Geoff Blum, 3B5100014 .205
Mark Loretta, SS5131012 .233
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
J.R. Towles, C3000032 .151
   a- Darin Erstad, PH1113000 .304
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .333
   b- Miguel Tejada, PH-SS1000002 .343
Chris Sampson, P2000010 .067
   c- Jose Cruz Jr., PH1000000 .122
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
   d- Brad Ausmus, PH-C1000112 .235
Totals418138413  
a-homered for Towles in the 8th
b-flied out for Byrdak in the 9th
c-flied out for Sampson in the 7th
d-walked for Borkowski in the 8th
Batting
2B - Kazuo Matsui (8, Taschner), Hunter Pence (10, Lincecum)
HR - Lance Berkman (15, Chulk), Carlos Lee (9, T. Walker), Darin Erstad (1, T. Walker)
RBI - Lance Berkman 3 (43), Carlos Lee (29), Mark Loretta (10), Darin Erstad 3 (9)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Loretta (5)
SB - Kazuo Matsui (8, 2nd base off Lincecum/Holm), Lance Berkman (7, 2nd base off Lincecum/Holm), Carlos Lee (2, 2nd base off Lincecum/Holm)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Berkman
E - Mark Loretta 2 (2, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Chris Sampson 61075030 6.46
Dave Borkowski 1100000 4.41
Geoff Geary 0.1100100 1.47
Tim Byrdak (W,2-0) 0.2000000 0.00
Jose Valverde (S,11) 1000020 4.15
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Sampson 92-61, Dave Borkowski 8-6, Geoff Geary 9-5, Tim Byrdak 12-10, Jose Valverde 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Sampson 12-5, Dave Borkowski 1-1, Jose Valverde 1-0
Batters Faced - Chris Sampson 30, Dave Borkowski 3, Geoff Geary 3, Tim Byrdak 2, Jose Valverde 3
San Francisco Giants
Fred Lewis, LF4110000 .286
   a- Bengie Molina, PH1000002 .275
    Daniel Ortmeier, LF0000000 .292
Omar Vizquel, SS5330012 .444
Randy Winn, RF5231000 .294
Aaron Rowand, CF5122010 .333
John Bowker, 1B4013012 .281
Rich Aurilia, 3B4010002 .245
    Vinnie Chulk, P0000000 .000
Steve Holm, C4000011 .275
Emmanuel Burriss, 2B3000012 .250
   b- Ray Durham, PH-2B1010000 .273
Tim Lincecum, P3000001 .235
    Jack Taschner, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Walker, P0000000 .000
    Alexander Hinshaw, P0000000 .000
    Jose Castillo, 3B0000100 .257
Totals39712615  
a-flied out for Lewis in the 8th
b-singled for Burriss in the 8th
Batting
2B - Randy Winn 2 (11, Sampson, Sampson), John Bowker (3, Sampson)
SF - John Bowker (2)
RBI - Randy Winn (14), Aaron Rowand 2 (20), John Bowker 3 (15)
Team LOB - 7
San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum 65333100 1.92
Jack Taschner 0.2100000 4.11
Tyler Walker 0.2344112 5.82
Alexander Hinshaw 0.1100010 0.00
Vinnie Chulk (L,0-2) 1.1311011 2.81
WP - Tim Lincecum 2 (5), Tyler Walker (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Lincecum 105-65, Jack Taschner 12-6, Tyler Walker 28-16, Alexander Hinshaw 10-5, Vinnie Chulk 32-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Lincecum 3-5, Tyler Walker 2-0
Batters Faced - Tim Lincecum 26, Jack Taschner 3, Tyler Walker 7, Alexander Hinshaw 2, Vinnie Chulk 7
Game Information
Attendance - 33771
Game Time - 3:24
Temperature - 95
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Scott Barry, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Gerry Davis