Eds: Astros 5, Royals 4. UPDATES.
Berkman’s four RBIs lead Astros past Royals 5-4
KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer


HOUSTON (AP) – Lance Berkman homered twice and drove in four runs to help the Houston Astros overcome an error-filled day and beat the Kansas City Royals 5-4 on Thursday.

Berkman entered the game needing to drive in one run to become the third player in franchise history to reach 1,000 RBIs. He did it on his first at-bat, a two-run shot to far left field that gave Houston a 2-1 lead and put him with fellow “Killer Bs” Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio as the only Astros to reach the mark.

He pushed his total to 1,003 in the sixth inning with a drive to almost the same spot, scoring scored Carlos Lee and putting Houston back on top 5-4.

The win is Houston’s first of this interleague series and keeps the Royals from sweeping the Astros for the first time in their eight series history.

Closer Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save, a day after blowing the save in Houston’s 11-inning loss Wednesday night. Wesley Wright (2-1) got the win after getting four outs after starter Brian Moehler left after five innings.

Houston had some fielding trouble between Berkman’s two long balls, combining for three errors that led to three runs in the fourth and fifth innings and allowed the Royals to take a 4-3 lead.

Houston’s trouble began in the fourth inning. First, Guillen reached on a throwing error by Jeff Keppinger that sent Alberto Callaspo to second. On the next play Miguel Tejada couldn’t handle the throw to second and watched as Guillen advanced there and Callaspo scored.

Mark Teahen followed with a double to give Kansas City a 3-2 lead. Houston got out of the inning when Royals starter Brian Bannister grounded into a double play.

Houston tied it 3-all in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Kaz Matsui that scored Lee.

Houston’s fielding woes continued in the fifth when David DeJesus scored on an error by catcher Humberto Quintero that made it 4-3. Hunter Pence caught a fly by Guillen with runners on second and third before throwing to Quintero at home. DeJesus rushed back to third on the throw which left Willie Bloomquist stranded between second and third.

Quintero’s high throw to a leaping Tejada at second bounced off the top of his glove and sent him tumbling backward to the ground, losing his cap and the ball in the process. DeJesus scored easily and Bloomquist had waltzed to third by the time Tejada got up shaking his head in disgust.

Guillen doubled in the second before scoring on a single by Teahen to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.

Moehler allowed five hits and four runs – one earned – in five innings.

Bannister (5-5) allowed six hits and five runs in six innings for Kansas City.

NOTES: Houston RHP Felipe Paulino, who is on the disabled list with a strained right groin, is tentatively scheduled to start on Saturday. … Houston LHP Mike Hampton, on the disabled list with a left groin strain, is scheduled to throw two or three innings of a simulated game on Friday.


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