With his 300th home run, Lance Berkman reached a level shared by select company.
The milestones were all the sweeter because the Astros held on for a 6-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night after nearly blowing a late five-run lead."It's always good when you can win the game after you do something like that," said Houston manager Cecil Cooper, who had 2,192 hits and 241 homers in a 17-year career. "It's pretty incredible. It shows that they've been real successful for a long time. Not many guys get to get there."After Arizona jumped ahead 1-0 in the fourth on Chris Young's homer, the Astros rallied in the sixth behind Tejada and Berkman, their veteran leaders.Michael Bourn led off with a standup triple over the head of right fielder Justin Upton and scored on Tejada's sharp single through the left side."That's why I'm most happy -- I got the hit to tie the game," said Tejada, who had his wife, two children and a sister in the stands. "It's special because I got a chance to do it in front of my family."The 35-year-old Tejada became the 29th shortstop in major league history to reach 2,000 hits -- a list that includes active players Omar Vizquel of Texas, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and Edgar Renteria of San Francisco.One out later, Berkman hit a 1-0 pitch from Jon Garland (4-7) into the right field seats to give the Astros a 3-1 lead.It was Berkman's team-leading 12th homer this season. The 33-year-old Berkman, who homered from the left side, became the seventh switch-hitter to hit 300 homers -- a list topped by Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, who hit 536 homers."I take pride in it for sure because there's not a whole lot of switch-hitters that have gotten to that level," Berkman said. "It's not like 500 homers, but I'll certainly take it."The two big hits gave Roy Oswalt (3-3) the lead.After Young's homer, Oswalt settled down and retired 12 of his last 13 hitters. He allowed two and struck out five.Oswalt gave up one run and five hits in seven innings to improve to 8-1 lifetime against the Diamondbacks.But Houston's bullpen nearly cost Oswalt his victory.Houston reliever LaTroy Hawkins put the potential tying run on with no outs in the ninth. But he got Justin Upton to ground into a double play and struck out Stephen Drew for his ninth save in 12 chances.Hawkins closed even though the Astros activated Jose Valverde before the game. Cooper said he would give Valverde one outing before he returned to his closer role.Valverde, formerly of the Diamondbacks, got the final out in the eighth inning, but not before the Diamondbacks had rallied against reliever Christopher Sampson.Down 6-1 in the eighth, the Diamondbacks closed on a two-run double by Mark Reynolds and an RBI double by Josh Whitesell."We made it interesting at the end," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "It was nice to have a chance to tie it or win it."Garland went seven innings, allowing three runs and six hits. He walked one -- intentionally -- and struck out two.The Astros tacked on three more runs in the eighth against Juan Gutierrez. Ivan Rodriguez and former Diamondback Matt Kata each singled home a run and Edwin Maysonet knocked in another on a sacrifice fly to give the Astros a 6-1 lead.
Arizona LHP Scott Schoeneweis made his first appearance since his wife, Gabrielle Schoeneweis, 39, was found dead in the couple's home in suburban Fountain Hills on May 20. Schoeneweis retired both men he faced and walked off to a standing ovation. Schoeneweis did not acknowledge the cheers but said he was moved. "I couldn't look at anybody," he said. "I couldn't acknowledge the crowd. I apologize. You know the old saying, 'There's no crying in baseball,' so I just kept my head down." ... Phoenix Coyotes winger Shane Doan took batting practice and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Houston RHP Russ Ortiz, a former Diamondback, pinch-hit for Oswalt in the eighth. Ortiz struck out swinging, dropping his average to .267 (4 for 15).