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Tejada, Berkman help Astros avoid sweep

May 18, 2008 - 11:49 PM ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- He doesn't know how he's doing it, but Lance Berkman is tearing up the major leagues.

Miguel Tejada had three hits and Berkman stretched his hitting streak to 17 games as the Houston Astros avoided a sweep against the Texas Rangers with a 5-4 win on Sunday.

Michael Bourn, Kaz Matsui and Hunter Pence each had two hits for the Astros, who pounded out 13 hits and drew four walks against their intrastate rival.

Berkman continued his recent tear, finishing 2-for-5 to raise his batting average to .399.

"We all know he's a great hitter," Houston starter Brandon Backe said. "Everything is falling for him. I even think he might be dumbfounded by it."

Berkman leads the majors with 16 homer runs and is batting .545 with 12 multi-hit games during his current streak.

"My mechanics were off last year but physically I was fine," Berkman said. "I wish I knew what the difference was and I'd do it every year. This is like my seventh full season and I've gotten off to a really good start four or five times and a bad start in a couple of seasons. How do you explain any of that?

"I don't put a lot of stock in batting average. If I hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs, I've had a good year."

Tejada scored twice and drove in the eventual deciding run as part of a two-run rally in the fifth that pushed Houston ahead, 5-0. Tejada's three-hit effort hiked his average up to .344 and gave him five multi-hit games in his last 11 starts.

"He's really hot and that's good for the team," Tejada said of Berkman. "I try to get on since I know he'll hit me in. No one is paying attention to me right now and that's good."

The Astros finally got to Rangers starter Kason Gabbard (1-1) in the fourth when Tejada and Berkman led off the frame with back-to-back singles. After Carlos Lee flew out to center and Hunter Pence singled to load the bases, Gabbard walked Mark Loretta to force in the first run.

"I feel like I let the team down," Gabbard said. "I want to go deep into the game and give our offense a chance to score runs. I didn't have it today."

Ty Wigginton plated the second run with a fielder's choice groundout and rookie J.R. Towles doubled to push the advantage to 3-0.

Tejada's RBI double in the next frame made it 4-0 and Lee plated Tejada with a sacrifice fly later in the inning to extend the lead to 5-0.

"He couldn't keep the ball down consistently," Texas manager Ron Washington said of his starter. "If you throw it up to those guys they'll hit you. It wasn't vintage Gabbard."

Backe (3-5) cruised through the first six innings before running into trouble in the seventh and allowing three runs. The righthander surrendered five hits and struck out five in 6 1/3 frames.

"The numbers were there today," Backe said. "I felt good and thought I did pretty good. No walks, I kept my pitch count down. It's sort of rare for me to get into the seventh inning this year but that helps the team when I can. It got a little hairy in the end but (Doug) Brocail and (Jose) Valverde did their jobs."

Valverde allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth inning but managed to get the final four outs to secure his 12th save of the season.

"Valverde didn't pitch (Saturday) or Friday so we talked about letting him go more than an inning today if there was a chance to get him in in the eighth," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "We asked him how he felt and he said give me the ball. I really don't like doing that with a closer but we needed a win today.

The Astros finished up a 10-game road trip with seven wins.

"I couldn't ask for a much better road trip," Cooper said. "To take seven of 10 is good since we haven't had a road trip like this in a while."

Milton Bradley and David Murphy both homered for the Rangers.








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 5 13 0
    TEXAS 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 4 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - BRANDON BACKE, DOUG BROCAIL (7TH), JOSE VALVERDE (8TH) AND
    J.R. TOWLES
    TEX - KASON GABBARD, JOSH RUPE (6TH), JAMEY WRIGHT
    (8TH), C.J. WILSON (9TH) AND GERALD

    May 18 6:08 PM
  • 52
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros 5, Rangers 4  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 18 5:42 PM


  • ML
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY FRANK CATALANOTTO SCORED IAN KINSLER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, F CATALANOTTO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    TEXAS 4 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: M YOUNG (.287, 1-FOR-3)

    Astros 5, Rangers 4  Bot 8, 0 OutsMay 18 5:41 PM


  • ML
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAVID MURPHY (6) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF BRANDON BACKE.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5, TEXAS 3
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: G LAIRD (.274, 0-FOR-2)

    Astros 5, Rangers 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsMay 18 5:14 PM


  • ML
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MILTON BRADLEY (8) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 7TH OFF BRANDON BACKE SCORED MICHAEL YOUNG.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5, TEXAS 2
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: D MURPHY (.281, 0-FOR-2)

    Astros 5, Rangers 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsMay 18 5:12 PM
  • 17
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 17 roots

    Astros 5, Rangers 0  Bot 5, 0 OutsMay 18 4:28 PM


  • ML
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CARLOS LEE SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, L BERKMAN ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    TEXAS 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.287, 1-FOR-2)

    Astros 5, Rangers 0  Top 5, 0 OutsMay 18 4:24 PM


  • ML
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY J.R. TOWLES SCORED HUNTER PENCE.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J TOWLES ON SECOND, T WIGGINTON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    TEXAS 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M BOURN (.183, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Astros 3, Rangers 0  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 18 4:01 PM


  • ML
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY TY WIGGINTON SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, T WIGGINTON ON FIRST, H PENCE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 2
    TEXAS 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: J TOWLES (.143, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 2, Rangers 0  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 18 4:01 PM


  • ML
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO MARK LORETTA SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LORETTA ON FIRST, H PENCE ON SECOND, L
    BERKMAN ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1
    TEXAS 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.226, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 1, Rangers 0  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 18 4:00 PM