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Berkman helps Astros beat Marlins, get first home win

HOUSTON -- Lance Berkman is back and the Houston Astros have won four of their last five since that dreadful 0-8 start.

Jason Michaels hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning after Kaz Matsui's sacrifice bunt scored the go-ahead run and the Astros beat the Florida Marlins 7-5 on Tuesday night in Berkman's season debut.

Berkman doubled and drove in two runs on groundouts to help the Astros to their first home win this season after dropping their first six at Minute Maid Park.

"I feel like the team is really starting to play up to its potential and it's fun to be a part of it," Berkman said.

Hunter Pence doubled off Tim Wood (0-1) in the eighth inning before a single by Pedro Feliz. Matsui sacrificed Pence home to make it 5-4 before Michaels' shot.

"You play every day. You have to forget and go on," Michaels said. "We just had a bad stretch there and I think guys all in all are starting to have a better game plan. Our hitters are having better at-bats."

Florida's Jorge Cantu homered and had two RBIs to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.

Brandon Lyon (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Matt Lindstrom allowed one run in the ninth to get his third save.

Wes Helms hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth before Gaby Sanchez grounded out to end the game.

With the loss, the Marlins have dropped the first game of each of their five series' this season but haven't lost a series so far.

"We aren't playing bad," Marlins starter Chris Volstad said. "It's just one thing here or there. We are still playing good games. That's just the way baseball is."

Wood allowed four hits and four runs with a walk in two innings as Houston scored its most runs of the season.

"Consistently, I was not hitting the strike zone," Wood said. "I was behind to every batter. It's hard to get outs when you're behind 2-0. I got to go out there and get outs. Tonight wasn't my night."

The Astros tied it at 4 when Berkman knocked Geoff Blum home on a groundout with one out in the seventh inning.

Berkman looked good in his first game back from knee surgery when he made a face-first diving catch to get Dan Uggla out in the third inning. He got up and dusted himself off before flashing a quick thumbs up to assure everyone he was OK. His first hit came later in the third on a double that landed in the corner of left field.

Berkman said he was sore but OK after the game.

Volstad gave up five hits and three runs with two walks in six innings.

After allowing six hits in the first 1 2/3 innings -- including four straight to start the game -- Brett Myers settled down and retired the next 10. He didn't allow another hit until Cantu's homer to start the sixth inning that made it 4-2.

Myers gave up eight hits and four runs with two strikeouts in seven innings, keeping the Astros in the game long enough to rally late.

"They've kept the right attitude to how they've approached the game," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "No matter if they were 0-5, 0-6, 0-7, 0-8, they kept that same preparation. I've got to tip my hat to those guys because that's tough to do some times. But they did that ... now they're being rewarded."

J.R. Towles hit his second RBI single of the game to make it 4-3 in the sixth.

Florida went up 2-0 early on four straight singles, the last two by Hanley Ramirez and Cantu.

Houston got one back when Michael Bourn walked, stole two bases and came home on an RBI groundout by Berkman.

Chris Coghlan hit an RBI single in the second and Towles replied for Houston in the bottom half, making it 3-2.

Game notes
Houston right-hander Sammy Gervacio, on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, started a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. He allowed a run and hit with a walk in one inning. ... Florida right-hander Brian Sanches (right hamstring) is on a rehabilitation assignment with Jupiter and should be ready to return to the Marlins on Monday.