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San Francisco (50-70)201001000480
Houston (62-59) «01200013x7120

Berkman's homer powers Astros to eighth straight win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- The surging Houston Astros are leaving Lance Berkman almost speechless.

Berkman hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help lift the Houston Astros to their eighth straight win, 7-4 over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.

It gave Houston, which has won 16 of 20, a four-game sweep of the Giants.

"It's unexplainable," Berkman said. "This is a fairly remarkable streak. When the guys are all playing well like this, you have this feeling that you can always come back. We definitely feel like we're going to win when it's close in the seventh."

Manager Cecil Cooper says pitching has carried the Astros lately.

"That's the main thing," Cooper said. "When we've won, we've always pitched well. When you're playing like we're playing, you start to feel a little invincible."

With the score tied 4-4 in the eighth, Miguel Tejada led off with a single against reliever Keiichi Yabu (3-5). The Giants then replaced Yabu with Alex Hinshaw, who allowed Berkman's 25th home run of the year.

Hinshaw had no excuses on Berkman's homer.

"Berkman is one of the best hitters in the National League," Hinshaw said. "His numbers speak for themselves. When I got him out two nights ago, I went away from him and with fastballs in.

"Today I went away from him, but I figured I would try to go in on him again, and he was sitting on it. I just caught too much of the plate, and he hit it pretty good," he said.

Manager Bruce Bochy saw his bullpen take two of the four losses against Houston.

"It wasn't a good series for the bullpen," Bochy said. "We couldn't get anyone hot out there. That's what it comes down to. We got the lead. We did what we wanted to do out there.

"He (Hinshaw) made a mistake. He threw one right down the middle, which is not what we want him to do in that situation. The guy (Berkman) is a great hitter. He shouldn't have gotten a pitch like that, but he did," he said.

Humberto Quintero topped off the scoring with an RBI single.

LaTroy Hawkins (1-0) pitched one-third of an inning for his first win as an Astro.

Jose Valverde pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 30th save in 36 tries. Valverde has saves in all six appearances against the Giants this season.

Brian Moehler started and went 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits.

Starter Kevin Correia lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits and a walk. He struck out five.

Randy Winn's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Pablo Sandoval gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

In the second inning, Hunter Pence doubled and went to third on a ground out. He scored on a wild pitch by Correia.

Winn's RBI double in the third made it 3-1.

The Astros tied it in the bottom of the third on an RBI double by Berkman and a sacrifice fly by Geoff Blum.

Fred Lewis' ninth homer put the Giants back on top 4-3 in the sixth. But Darin Erstad's RBI single tied it again at 4-4 in the seventh.

Notes

  • Berkman's three RBI gave him 942 for his career, tying him with Jose Cruz for third on the Astros' career list.
  • The Giants purchased the contract of RHP Matt Palmer from Triple-A Fresno. To make room for him on the roster, they optioned LHP Geno Espinelli to Fresno.
  • Sandoval's sacrifice fly came in his first major league plate appearance in the first inning. Sandoval is the 14th Giants rookie to make his major league debut this year, a San Francisco-era club record.
  • Ty Wigginton's single in the first gave him a career high-tying 11-game hitting streak.
  • Aaron Rowand left the game in the second inning with a sore back. He's day to day.
  • The Giants signed third-round draft pick Roger Kieschnick, the cousin of former big-leaguer Brooks Kieschnick, and fourth-round draft pick Brandon Crawford.
 
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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First baseman Lance Berkman is the center of attention after his two-run homer in the eighth. (AP)
First baseman Lance Berkman is the center of attention after his two-run homer in the eighth. (AP)

Players of the Game
San Francisco

R. Winn
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
San Francisco Giants
Dave Roberts, LF5110001 .240
Eugenio Velez, 2B4220000 .217
Randy Winn, RF4022000 .295
Aaron Rowand, CF1000002 .286
    Fred Lewis, CF3111001 .283
Pablo Sandoval, C3001001 .000
Travis Ishikawa, 1B3010102 .333
Ryan Rohlinger, 3B4000012 .125
    Alex Hinshaw, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Walker, P0000000 .000
Ivan Ochoa, SS3010100 .273
Kevin Correia, P3000023 .150
    Jack Taschner, P0000000 .000
    Keiichi Yabu, P0000000 .000
    Rich Aurilia, 3B1000000 .274
Totals3448423  
Batting
2B - Randy Winn (29, Moehler), Travis Ishikawa (1, Moehler), Ivan Ochoa (5, Moehler)
HR - Fred Lewis (9, Moehler)
SF - Pablo Sandoval (1)
RBI - Randy Winn 2 (50), Fred Lewis (36), Pablo Sandoval (1)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Velez-Ochoa-Ishikawa, Ochoa-Ishikawa
PB - Pablo Sandoval (1)
San Francisco Giants
Kevin Correia 6.2743150 5.12
Jack Taschner (BS,3)0100000 4.15
Keiichi Yabu (L,3-5) 0.1111000 3.68
Alex Hinshaw 0.2222021 3.26
Tyler Walker 0.1100000 5.06
WP - Kevin Correia (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Correia 95-58, Jack Taschner 1-1, Keiichi Yabu 12-7, Alex Hinshaw 21-14, Tyler Walker 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Correia 9-5, Tyler Walker 1-0
Batters Faced - Kevin Correia 27, Jack Taschner 1, Keiichi Yabu 2, Alex Hinshaw 4, Tyler Walker 2
Houston Astros
Darin Erstad, CF-LF3021110 .292
Ty Wigginton, LF-3B4120011 .288
Miguel Tejada, SS4210003 .286
Lance Berkman, 1B4123001 .333
Geoff Blum, 3B-2B3111000 .238
Hunter Pence, RF4110012 .268
David Newhan, 2B4120012 .220
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Humberto Quintero, C4011012 .237
Brian Moehler, P2000021 .031
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .167
   a- Mark Loretta, PH1000001 .273
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   b- Michael Bourn, PH-CF1000001 .227
Totals34712617  
a-lined out for Byrdak in the 7th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Hawkins in the 8th
Batting
2B - Lance Berkman (36, Correia), Geoff Blum (7, Hinshaw), Hunter Pence (26, Correia)
HR - Lance Berkman (25, Hinshaw)
SF - Geoff Blum (4)
RBI - Darin Erstad (25), Lance Berkman 3 (87), Geoff Blum (36), Humberto Quintero (7)
2-OUT RBI - Darin Erstad (9), Humberto Quintero (6)
Team LOB - 5
Houston Astros
Brian Moehler 5.1844011 3.97
Geoff Geary 0.2000110 2.39
Tim Byrdak 1000000 2.84
Wesley Wright 0.2000100 4.43
LaTroy Hawkins (W,2-1) 0.1000010 5.20
Jose Valverde (S,30) 1000000 4.23
IBB - Ochoa by Geoff Geary
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Moehler 86-58, Geoff Geary 12-6, Tim Byrdak 14-8, Wesley Wright 15-7, LaTroy Hawkins 4-3, Jose Valverde 6-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Moehler 6-9, Tim Byrdak 2-1, Wesley Wright 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Moehler 24, Geoff Geary 3, Tim Byrdak 3, Wesley Wright 3, LaTroy Hawkins 1, Jose Valverde 3
Game Information
Attendance - 33612
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi