Eckstein, Padres rally with 3 runs in 7th inning; Gonzalez strains knee

SAN DIEGO -- The loss of Adrian Gonzalez dampened a comeback win by the Padres.

Gonzalez left with a strained right knee during San Diego's 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night and it's uncertain whether the All-Star first baseman will miss any time.

"We'll see how I wake up," said Gonzalez, the Padres' top hitter. "My body is kind of weird. Sometimes I feel something and I wake up the next morning and I feel great. Then sometimes I wake up and something aches that I didn't feel the night before.

"Hopefully, going by my past, I will wake up and feel better."

The injury to San Diego's best offensive player was clearly a concern in the clubhouse.

"He's our MVP," David Eckstein said. "Between him and Scotty [Hairston], those are the only guys who can change the game with one swing. That definitely puts a little bit of a damper [on the win]."

Eckstein capped a three-run rally in the seventh inning with a go-ahead RBI single for a 4-3 lead.

Gonzalez was hurt sliding into third base with an RBI triple in the fourth.

"It wasn't my best slide," he said. "I slide on top of my leg. I felt it as soon as I hit the ground."

Josh Banks (1-0) pitched seven solid innings, allowing three runs and five hits in his first major league start of the season. The right-hander, recalled from Triple-A Portland on June 16, struck out four and walked one.

Heath Bell got four outs for his 22nd save in 23 chances. Bell is tied with Los Angeles Angels lefty Brian Fuentes for the major league lead.

The Padres, last in the majors in runs, can hardly afford to lose Gonzalez, an All-Star last year. He slumped through June, but with 24 homers with 48 RBIs, he is still on pace for an outstanding season.

"Hopefully, it's just day to day," Bell said. "Maybe Adrian can get a couple of days' rest and come back hitting dingers."

In 24 games since June 2, Gonzalez is batting .221 with two homers and five RBIs. His batting average has dropped from .289 to .271.

"We're going to see how it sets up overnight, and [Wednesday] morning we'll see if there is a need for any tests," San Diego manager Bud Black said.

The injury also puts Gonzalez's streak of 283 consecutive games played in jeopardy, the longest active streak in the majors. He is 23 games short of breaking Steve Garvey's San Diego record of 305 games.

Trailing 3-1, the Padres went ahead with three runs in the seventh against Chris Sampson (4-1).

Chase Headley led off with a single. After a strikeout and a sacrifice, pinch-hitter Will Venable doubled in one run. Tony Gwynn Jr. followed with an RBI single and went to second on the throw home. Eckstein then singled to center, with Gwynn just beating the throw home from Michael Bourn for a 4-3 lead.

"Bad day," Sampson said. "I just missed a few spots, made some bad pitches. [Mike] Hampton pitched his tail off and deserved to win and I just messed it up. It was my fault."

Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer and Hampton pitched six strong innings after coming off the disabled list for the Astros.

Berkman continued his recent tear with his 17th home run, putting Houston ahead 3-0 in the third. Berkman went 2 for 3 with a walk and is 10 for 19 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last six games.

Hampton allowed one run and three hits with six strikeouts and a walk. The left-hander had been on the 15-day DL since June 14 with a left groin strain before being activated Tuesday.

"During my time off, I worked on slowing things down a little bit," Hampton said. "I put that to work and I felt I was pretty effective."

Game notes
Berkman is hitting .375 with six homers, 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored in 16 career games at Petco Park. ... The triple by Gonzalez was just the seventh of his career. ... Bell recorded his second save of longer than one inning. His previous one came on May 15 when he got four outs against Cincinnati. ... Houston is 12-5 against NL West teams.