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Astros avoid sweep thanks to Berkman's five RBI

6/20/2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Lance Berkman made it clear that winning games
is more important than individual success.

Berkman hit a grand slam to highlight a seven-run fourth inning,
and the Houston Astros avoided being swept in the four-game series
by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 9-3 Thursday.

Berkman drove in five runs, giving him a major league-leading
62. But Berkman wasn't celebrating, thinking first of his team's
record (31-40).

''You can't enjoy anything personal if the team isn't doing
well,'' Berkman said. ''It's irrevelant. It's all about winning
games.''

Wade Miller (3-2) was 7-0 against the Brewers coming into the
season, but Milwaukee beat him in the season opener at Houston. He
was back to normal at Miller Park, improving to 4-0 at the stadium.

Miller gave up two runs in six innings. He allowed seven hits,
all but one coming after the Astros had built a 9-0 lead.

''This guy looks pretty good every time I see him,'' Milwaukee
manager Jerry Royster said. ''I don't know where that ERA comes
from that he came in with today.''

Miller's ERA dropped only to 5.20 from 5.54. But he's allowed
only four earned runs in 34 innings, a 1.06 ERA, at Miller Park.

''I don't know,'' Miller said when asked about his success in
Milwaukee. ''I really didn't do my greatest, but I had good
support. That always helps when you put up a seven-spot.''

Jamey Wright (1-5) fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Astros.

''I hope there aren't too many like this,'' Wright said. ''I
didn't do my job today. I never felt like I got in a rhythm.''

The Astros, leading 2-0, broke it open against Wright in the
fourth. Geoff Blum singled home one run, Julio Lugo doubled home
another and a third scored on second baseman Eric Young's error.

Berkman followed with his 22nd homer of the season and second
career slam. It was the Astros' first slam this year.

''Some good at-bats, some big hits,'' Houston manager Jimy
Williams said. ''It was nice to have our bats come alive.''

The Astros scored twice in the first. Wright walked Lugo on four
pitches to open the game, then gave up a double to Jose Vizcaino,
whose high fly down the right-field line couldn't be run down by
outfielder Matt Stairs, playing with a bad hamstring.

Lugo scored on a groundout by Berkman and Vizcaino came home on
an RBI single by Jeff Bagwell.

Wright, 0-2 this season against the Astros, was pulled after
Berkman's homer, having allowed nine runs on seven hits in 3 1-3
innings.

''There weren't too many positive things out there today,''
Wright said. ''Nothing was there today.''

Alex Ochoa singled home the first Milwaukee run off Miller in
the fourth, and Young hit a solo homer in the fifth. Tyler Houston
homered in the ninth for Milwaukee.

''Some of those bats woke up that had been quiet for sometime,''
Royster said of the Astros. ''They got some big hits.''

Game notes
Milwaukee OF Jeffrey Hammonds was 1-for-14 in the series
and is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. His batting average has
dropped to .292 after going 3-for-15 on the last road trip and
4-for-28 on the current homestand. ... Miller beat the Brewers five
times last year to tie a team record for most victories against one
team. ... Milwaukee RHP Nelson Figueroa relieved Wright and
finished the game. Figueroa didn't allow a homer for the first time
in his last 11 appearances. ... Young didn't have a home run in his
first 69 games and now has one in each of his last two games.