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Berkman, Kent lead 15-hit parade

5/19/2004

MIAMI (AP) -- A night after handing the Florida Marlins their
most-lopsided loss of the season, the Houston Astros did it again.

Lance Berkman homered for the second time in as many nights, and
Morgan Ensberg drove in three runs to lead the Astros over the
slumping Marlins 10-2 Wednesday.

Houston beat Florida 9-2 Tuesday and have outhit the defending
World Series champions 30-12 in the two games.

The Marlins have lost four of five since winning two of three at
Houston. The loss prompted manager Jack McKeon to give the team a
tongue-lashing after the game.

"We're playing bad baseball right now -- all around,"
outfielder Jeff Conine said. "That sums it up. Every team in
baseball goes through a slump. There's no magic formula, no drink
you take that make it go 'poof.' We've got to work through it."

Tim Redding allowed two unearned runs and three hits in 6 2-3
innings, improving to 3-0 in four career starts against the
Marlins.

Redding (2-3) beat the Marlins twice last season and had a
no-decision against them last week. He has allowed six runs -- only
four earned -- in the four starts.

"There are certain teams you throw well against, and this is
one of them for me," said Redding, who helped the Astros improve
to 12-4 on the road. "I would rather do it against teams from our
division, teams that we face more than just a few times a year. But
I'll take it against whoever I can.

"It's just something that has worked out for me."

Berkman gave the Astros an early lead with his seventh homer, a
solo shot in the second. He added an RBI double in a four-run ninth
against Nate Bump.

Jeff Kent had a run-scoring single in Houston's three-run third
and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Ensberg had a sacrifice fly in the sixth that made it 5-2, an
RBI single in the eighth and doubled home Berkman in the ninth.

Carl Pavano (3-2) allowed five runs and nine hits in seven
innings, striking out five.

"We've been through these slumps before, but good teams get out
of it quick," Pavano said. "We've got to dig deep and do the
little things."

McKeon declined to give details about his postgame team meeting.

"We just had a little get together," he said. "I just told
them they're a better club that this. We've got to grind it out, do
something different."

Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, the Marlins cut the lead in half on
Hee Seop Choi's inside-the-park homer. It came with two outs and
Miguel Cabrera on first. Cabrera reached base on an error by Adam
Everett.

Choi drove Redding's fastball over Craig Biggio in center. The
ball caromed off an angled part of the wall and started rolling
down the warning track toward right field.

By the time Biggio picked it up, Cabrera had scored and Choi was
nearing third. Choi barely beat Kent's strong relay throw home.

"It hit the bottom of the wall and took a funny bounce,"
Biggio said. "That's usually what happens with inside-the-park
home runs. It's something weird -- usually a funny bounce."

It was Choi's 10th homer this season. It also was the second
inside-the-park home run in the majors this season. Boston's Pokey
Reese had one against Kansas City on May 8.

Game notes
Choi's homer was the 11th inside-the-park homer in team
history, the ninth for the team at the Marlins' spacious ballpark.
Derrek Lee was the previous to do it, on April 12 last year against
Atlanta. ... Astros OF Richard Hidalgo went 1-for-4 after getting
dropped to the No. 7 spot in the batting order -- the lowest he's
hit all season. ... Utilityman Larry Sutton returned to the majors
for the first time in two years. The Marlins called him up from
Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday and had him pinch-hit in the
seventh. He struck out, ending the inning.