Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 7/26)

Game 1: Tuesday, July 25
Cincinnati2Final
Houston0
Game 2: Wednesday, July 26
Cincinnati5Final
Houston8
Game 3: Thursday, July 27
Cincinnati8Final
Houston4

Reds 5

(53-48, 26-23 away)

Astros 8

(48-53, 29-23 home)

    8:05 PM ET, July 26, 2006

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    CIN 010310000 5 13 1
    HOU 10006010 - 8 8 1

    W: A. Pettitte (9-10)

    L: B. Arroyo (9-7)

    S: D. Wheeler (2)

    Astros rough up Arroyo in comeback win vs. Reds

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Lance Berkman talked his way into the lineup on Wednesday night and Houston manager Phil Garner was glad he did.

    Berkman homered twice and Craig Biggio added a solo shot as the Astros rallied from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-5.

    Berkman was a game-time decision for Garner after injuring his left groin in Sunday's win in New York. Garner thought Berkman looked gimpy running the bases during batting practice, but Berkman persisted.

    "When we watched him, the first couple of times he ran, we weren't sure he was going to be able to play," Garner said. "He continued to talk and he talked me into it."

    Berkman made sure he didn't have to do much baserunning.

    His first homer, a three-run shot to right-center, capped a six-run fifth inning off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (9-7). Berkman added a solo homer to center field in the seventh for his fourth multi-homer game of the season.

    "I told him I could go and I showed him I could go," Berkman said of his conversation with Garner.

    The Astros came back from four runs down for the second time this season and snapped a four-game losing streak at Minute Maid Park. They also ended a four-game skid to the Reds, who've lost seven of their last nine road games.

    Houston is still five games under .500 and five games behind Cincinnati -- with five teams in between -- in the race for the NL wild card.

    "You just start playing well and you hope it lasts," Berkman said. "If we come out tomorrow and fall flat, this doesn't mean anything."

    Arroyo dropped to 0-4 since winning at New York on June 19. He tied a career high by giving up three homers.

    Arroyo was virtually unhittable for three innings after Biggio launched his fourth pitch into the left-field seats. Biggio's sixth leadoff homer of the season was the 50th of his career, which trails only Rickey Henderson's 80.

    Astros starter Andy Pettitte (9-10) couldn't hold the lead long. Rich Aurilia hit his 13th homer of the season in the second, the 21st home run given up by Pettitte this year.

    Aurilia led off the fourth with a single to right and Adam Dunn followed with a double off the fence in left-center.

    Aurilia scored on Edwin Encarnacion's bat-splitting single that Biggio fielded behind second base. Encarnacion's splintered barrel spiraled into the netting behind home plate.

    Brandon Phillips then lined a single to right fielder Luke Scott, who fired a long throw to third baseman Aubrey Huff trying to get Encarnacion. But the ball skipped past Huff and into the Reds' dugout, allowing Encarnacion to score behind Dunn for a 4-1 lead.

    Aurilia, just 2-for-15 against Pettitte before Wednesday, tripled off the right-field wall in the fifth and scored on Dunn's double down the right-field line.

    Pettitte left after that, but still won for the third time in five starts, despite allowing 11 hits.

    "This was another pathetic outing by me," said Pettitte. "Praise these guys, praise the bullpen, praise the hitters -- but not me. When I'm not getting anybody out, it's like batting practice."

    Arroyo, meanwhile, retired 10 in a row after a walk to Preston Wilson in the first, struck out the side in the third and fanned Huff leading off the fourth.

    But he crumbled in the fifth against the NL's second-lowest scoring offense.

    Brad Ausmus led off with a double and Arroyo hit Adam Everett with a pitch. Willy Taveras, pinch-hitting for Pettitte, beat out a grounder up the middle to load the bases before RBI singles by Biggio and Chris Burke.

    "It was one of those things -- it blows up on you," Arroyo said. "What are you going to do? They beat me up."

    Berkman then sent his 27th homer deep to right-center. The three-run blast was Berkman's 23rd this season batting left-handed and boosted his NL-leading RBI total to 91.

    "That was good for us. We were due for an inning like that," Berkman said. "We're more than capable and we know we should be doing that more often."

    Reds manager Jerry Narron stuck with Arroyo into the seventh, but Berkman hit an 0-1 pitch an estimated 452 feet to center. Berkman came in 5-for-13 against Arroyo.

    "He's an outstanding hitter and one of the best hitters in baseball and he's got pretty good numbers off of Bronson," Narron admitted.

    The Astros' bullpen did the rest, allowing only two hits in the final four innings. Dan Wheeler finished for his second save.

    "You have to give them credit," said Aurilia, a double short of hitting for the cycle. "They didn't just lay down and die after they were down."

    Game notes


    The Astros rallied from four runs down to win for the first time since May 28, when they trailed 4-0 in Pittsburgh and won 5-4 in 10 innings. ... Berkman has 18 career multi-homer games. ... Pettitte picked off Ryan Freel in the first inning. Pettitte's 76 career pickoffs ranks second among active pitchers behind Kenny Rogers' 86. ... Dunn had four hits, tying a career high. ...The Astros' bullpen hasn't allowed a run in 20 1/3 innings, its longest scoreless streak of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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