Missed call helps Houston overpower Texas 6-1

Turning point: With two outs and runners on first and second in the sixth, Texas shortstop Michael Young fielded a Mark Loretta grounder and flipped to third baseman Travis Metcalf, who touched the bag, for a force out. Unfortunately for the Rangers, third base umpire Tim Timmons thought a tag was needed and called the runner safe. Lance Berkman then stepped-up and put the Astros ahead 5-1 with a two-run double to right.

Figure this: Craig Biggio is the Astros' career leader in bunt singles, with 90.

Figure this II: The Astros have now won seven of their last 10 home games at Minute Maid Park.

-- ESPN.com news services

Astros 6, Rangers 1

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astros made the most of a missed call to pull away from the Texas Rangers.

Lance Berkman hit a two-run single after an umpire erred with two outs in the sixth inning, and the Astros went on to beat the Rangers 6-1 Saturday night.

The Astros won for the seventh time in 10 home games, scoring three runs after the decisive rally should've ended.

The game was tied at 1 when Hunter Pence and Morgan Ensberg led off the Houston sixth with singles against John Koronka (0-1), who was called up from the minors earlier in the day to make his first start of the season.

Jason Lane beat out a bunt to load the bases and Texas manager Ron Washington brought in reliever Scott Feldman, who balked home a run the previous night. Brad Ausmus grounded into a double play, with Pence scoring the go-ahead run. Pinch hitter Mike Lamb walked and Craig Biggio hit an RBI single for a 3-1 lead.

Shortstop Michael Young then fielded Mark Loretta's grounder and flipped to third baseman Travis Metcalf, who touched the bag to clearly force out Lamb. Third base umpire Tim Timmons called Lamb safe, however, and Washington argued.

Washington said Timmons told him that Metcalf swiped at Lamb and missed. Washington took that to mean Timmons wasn't looking at Metcalf's foot.

"I thought the call at third base was a blown call," Washington said.

Even Lamb admitted Timmons botched it.

"You guys saw the replays," Lamb said. "I mean, good grief. I didn't need to see the replay."

C.J. Wilson relieved and Berkman hit a sinking liner that Sammy Sosa couldn't reach in shallow right field. Carlos Lee drove in Loretta with Houston's fourth straight single.

"It turned out to be really important," Lamb said of the pivotal call. "It gave us a little breathing room."

Young, who went 1-for-3 with a double, said the call had no impact on the game's outcome.

"We would have lost 3-1 instead of 6-1," he said.

Wandy Rodriguez (2-3) allowed four hits and struck out seven in six innings. Rodriguez has won two of his past four starts -- and the Astros have won all four of those games -- since snapping a 12-start victory drought.

"I felt good. I had good location, too," the Spanish-speaking Rodriguez said through a translator. "My breaking pitches were working really good and I was using my changeup, too."

Brad Lidge retired six of the seven batters he faced in relief and Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless ninth for Houston. The Astros' bullpen has allowed only four runs in 29 innings.

The Rangers got their only run in the sixth after Young led off with a double. He later scored on a bloop single by Nelson Cruz, giving him five RBIs in his past eight games.

Texas lost for the ninth time in 12 games and mustered fewer than four runs for the eighth time in their past 13.

Koronka, the Rangers' first left-handed starter this season, didn't allow a hit until Biggio beat out a bunt leading off the third. Loretta sacrificed and Koronka grazed Lee with an 0-2 pitch.

"It took me a while to get comfortable," Koronka said. "I didn't feel I had command the first three innings. I thought my mechanics got better as I went along."

Pence singled up the middle to score Biggio, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Called up from the minors on April 27, Pence came into the game leading NL rookies with a .348 average. The run-scoring single gave him 16 RBIs this month.

Game notes
Pence got multiple hits for the third time in five games. ... Biggio has 2,970 hits in his career. ... Lee has 40 RBIs. ... The Astros have won five of their past seven. ... Lidge struck out two, going over 500 for his career. ... Biggio is the Astros' career leader in bunt singles, with 90.