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Houston at Florida

W: B. Norris (3-0) L: R. Nolasco (8-8)
HR: HOU - H. Pence (15), H. Pence (16), G. Blum (8)   FLA - H. Ramirez (17)

Astros 14, Marlins 6

CBSSports.com wire reports

MIAMI -- Lance Berkman provided a big boost in his return to the Houston Astros lineup. Hunter Pence gave them an even bigger lift -- twice.

Pence hit a pair of three-run homers for a career-high six RBI, powering the Astros to a 14-6 victory against the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night. For Pence, who was struggling recently, the home runs were a welcome sign.

"You play enough games eventually you will do something good if you keep swinging hard," Pence said.

Pence's home runs highlighted a five-run first inning and a seven-run fourth that chased Ricky Nolasco (8-8). Florida had won five in a row.

 Astros' Berkman, Hawkins return from DL

Berkman hit two RBI doubles in his first game in almost three weeks. He was activated earlier in the day after being on the disabled list with a strained left calf, and the difference he made in the lineup was felt immediately.

"He's a big factor for us," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "And we need him to be effective."

Bud Norris (3-0) struck out six in five innings. He became the first pitcher to win his first three starts with Houston since Roger Clemens won his first seven in 2004.

NL batting leader Hanley Ramirez hit his 17th home run of the season and added a double for the Marlins.

Not even free-swinging Florida could outslug the Astros on this night.

Pence's homer capped the big first inning. Berkman hit his second RBI double of the game in the second to put the Astros ahead 6-0.

But they were just getting started.

Pence hit another shot over the left-field scoreboard in the fourth, this time off reliever Tim Wood. Lee added a two-run single earlier in the inning, and by the time it was over, the Astros were ahead 13-3.

"Those guys make you pitch," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We just couldn't get through those innings. It happens. We go out [Thursday] and still have a chance to win the series. That's what we always talk about."

The Astros are finally starting to get healthy after weeks of injuries, and they hope it's not too late to get back in playoff contention.

Berkman and reliever LaTroy Hawkins (left shoulder strain) were activated off the disabled list before the game. And three starting pitches -- Roy Oswalt, Mike Hampton and Wandy Rodriguez -- are all healthy again after being injured in the past few weeks.

Time for making a playoff push is running out.

"All kidding aside, this was a big win for us," Berkman said. "If we're going to do anything this year, we have to do it now. It's not early anymore."

Florida piled up 13 hits and has had at least 10 hits in a club-record nine consecutive games. But it's the Marlins' starting pitching -- considered a strength for most of the year -- that has been slumping lately.

"It's tough to dig yourself out of those holes," Marlins catcher John Baker said. "We've been doing it lately, making comebacks, but it's tough to do it every night."

The Marlins scattered runs throughout, with Ramirez's two-run homer to straightaway center trimming Houston's lead to 13-5 in the fourth.

The Astros never relented, with Geoff Blum's eighth home run of the season stretching their lead to 14-5 in the eighth. Chris Coghlan extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single in the bottom half.


The Marlins optioned Wood to Triple-A New Orleans after the game and will fill his spot on the roster Thursday, the team said. ... Hampton (right knee) will make his regularly scheduled start Thursday in the finale of the four-game series against the Marlins, Cooper said. Hampton left Saturday's start against Milwaukee after two innings with a sprain in his right knee. ... Pence's previous single-game career high for RBI was five against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 31, 2007.

Copyright 2017 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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Players of the Game

H. Pence
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 2

H. Ramirez
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1

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Lance Berkman, 1B3222201 .277
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Hunter Pence, RF5226010 .291
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Bud Norris, P2110000 .333
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   b- Humberto Quintero, PH-C1000011 .235
a-flied out for Norris in the 6th
b-struck out for Byrdak in the 8th
2B - Lance Berkman 2 (21, Nolasco, Nolasco), Kazuo Matsui 2 (12, Calero, Lindstrom)
HR - Geoff Blum (8, Lindstrom), Hunter Pence 2 (16, Nolasco, Wood)
RBI - Miguel Tejada (68), Lance Berkman 2 (57), Carlos Lee 3 (73), Geoff Blum (39), Hunter Pence 6 (52)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman (24), Hunter Pence 3 (23)
SB - Michael Bourn 2 (44, 2nd base off Nolasco/Baker, 2nd base off Nolasco/Baker)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Blum-Matsui-Coste
E - Geoff Blum (3, Dropped line drive)
Houston Astros
Bud Norris (W,3-0) 51054161 3.00
Tim Byrdak 2000020 3.53
Alberto Arias 1311000 2.89
LaTroy Hawkins 1000000 2.27
Pitches-Strikes - Bud Norris 98-61, Tim Byrdak 26-19, Alberto Arias 17-10, LaTroy Hawkins 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bud Norris 3-7, Tim Byrdak 2-2, Alberto Arias 2-0, LaTroy Hawkins 2-1
Batters Faced - Bud Norris 27, Tim Byrdak 6, Alberto Arias 5, LaTroy Hawkins 3
Florida Marlins
Chris Coghlan, LF4011121 .287
Nick Johnson, 1B5100035 .296
Hanley Ramirez, SS5222000 .351
Jorge Cantu, 3B5110000 .275
John Baker, C5020001 .280
Dan Uggla, 2B4110014 .240
Cody Ross, CF4131000 .264
Jeremy Hermida, RF3011024 .255
Ricky Nolasco, P1011000 .188
    Tim Wood, P1010000 .500
   a- Ross Gload, PH1000002 .267
    Kiko Calero, P0000000 .000
    Renyel Pinto, P0000000 .000
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH1000001 .268
    Brendan Donnelly, P0000000 .000
a-fouled out for Wood in the 5th
b-grounded into a double play for Lindstrom in the 8th
2B - Hanley Ramirez (34, Norris)
HR - Hanley Ramirez (17, Norris)
SF - Jeremy Hermida (2)
RBI - Chris Coghlan (28), Hanley Ramirez 2 (79), Cody Ross (64), Jeremy Hermida (44), Ricky Nolasco (3)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Coghlan (10), Hanley Ramirez 2 (40), Ricky Nolasco (2)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Uggla-H. Ramirez-N. Johnson
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Ricky Nolasco (L,8-8) 3.181010211 5.44
Tim Wood 1.2532211 2.19
Kiko Calero 1100010 1.94
Renyel Pinto 1000100 2.51
Matt Lindstrom 1211011 6.21
Brendan Donnelly 1000110 1.13
IBB - Berkman by Ricky Nolasco
HBP - Norris (by Ricky Nolasco)
WP - Kiko Calero (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Ricky Nolasco 85-52, Tim Wood 45-25, Kiko Calero 17-11, Renyel Pinto 17-7, Matt Lindstrom 19-15, Brendan Donnelly 22-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ricky Nolasco 3-6, Tim Wood 2-1, Renyel Pinto 1-2, Matt Lindstrom 2-0
Batters Faced - Ricky Nolasco 21, Tim Wood 11, Kiko Calero 4, Renyel Pinto 4, Matt Lindstrom 5, Brendan Donnelly 4
Game Information
Attendance - 21122
Game Time - 3:31
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Adrian Johnson