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Berkman lifts Astros over struggling Rockies

Berkman lifts Astros over struggling Rockies

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HOUSTON - Lance Berkman hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning Tuesday night, helping the Houston Astros overcome a costly defensive mistake in a 6-5 victory over the lowly Colorado Rockies.

Chad Qualls (2-3) faced only one batter in the win, Dan Wheeler pitched a perfect eighth and Brad Lidge got three outs for his 17th save in 20 chances to send Houston to its fourth win in five games. Colorado has lost four straight.

The Astros also kept alive their unbeaten streak against Rockies starter Jamey Wright (4-7), who dropped to 0-11 in 16 appearances, including 15 starts, against Houston.

Wright is the only active pitcher to go winless in at least 10 decisions against one team. Since 1969, only Armando Reynoso has fared worse against one club - 0-10 in 16 games, 13 starts, against Atlanta.

The 30-year-old right-hander looked as if he might finally break the drought when Todd Helton's run-scoring triple gave the Rockies a 5-4 lead in the seventh.

But Wright stuck around long enough to get the loss, allowing Willy Taveras' single, hitting Craig Biggio with a pitch and giving up the double to Berkman. Dan Miceli then came in for Wright.

One night after Andy Pettitte pitched a gem against one of baseball's worst offenses, rookie Wandy Rodriguez was in the midst of another impressive night in his first career start against Colorado.

That was before right fielder Jason Lane cost Houston a run, and eventually its lead, in the sixth with an almost-comical attention lapse on defense.

With runners on second and third, Colorado's Garrett Atkins drove in Helton with a sacrifice fly to right. But after making the catch, Lane turned around and flipped the ball into the stands, apparently thinking the inning was over.

Preston Wilson took the opportunity to score on Lane's gaffe, bringing the Rockies to 4-2. As Wilson crossed home plate, Lane put his hands on his head and stood there with his mouth agape.

Dustan Mohr followed with a single, and Brad Hawpe homered to left-center to tie the score at 4.

The crowd of 28,788 really let Lane hear it when he led off the sixth, booing loudly after he popped up to the catcher on the first pitch.

Morgan Ensberg had an RBI single in the first and the Astros added two runs in the fourth on a pair of Rockies throwing errors on the same play.

The lumbering Berkman scored from third on a wild throw into right by Atkins, and Ensberg came across on a high throw to the plate by Hawpe.

Biggio's run-scoring single in the fifth gave Houston a 4-0 lead.

Houston has won six of its last eight series, with its only losses coming June 3-5 when it dropped two of three to NL Central-leading St. Louis and June 13-15 when it was swept in three games by Baltimore, the top team in the AL East.

Notes: Biggio hit the 584th double of his career in the first, moving him into sole possession of 13th place in major league history. Up next are Cal Ripken Jr. and Paul Waner with 603. ... With the loss, Colorado drops to 0-11-1 in road series this season. ... The Rockies are 3-14 at Minute Maid Park, its worst record at any NL stadium.


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