• Summary: Lance Berkman capped a 3-for-5 day at the plate with a ninth-inning RBI single that scored Adam Everett as the Astros won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-May.
• Unsung hero: Berkman had the offensive heroics, but starter Jason Jennings was solid on the mound. Although he didn't record the victory, Jennings pitched seven innings, allowing one run on six hits and struck out six.
• Goats: The offensive showing of White Sox's A.J. Pierzynski (0-for-4), Juan Uribe (0-for-3) and Jermaine Dye (1-for-4) probably didn't help manager Ozzie Guillen's heart rate.
• Quotable: "I was looking for the ball, because it was almost impossible
to see with those shadows. Obviously you're trying to get something up that you can elevate it a little bit and try to drive that run in. He jammed me pretty good, but, like I said, I was just pleased to make contact in that situation." -- Berkman
-- ESPN.com news services
Astros 3, White Sox 2
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chad Qualls needed no reminders when he came in from the bullpen Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.In the same park, the Astros' reliever had given up first-pitch grand slams to Paul Konerko in the 2005 World Series and to Joe Crede a year ago when Houston faced the Chicago White Sox in interleague play.On Saturday, Qualls got some payback. He got the final four outs, striking out Rob Mackowiak for the final one with the tying run on third as the Astros beat the reeling White Sox 3-2."Obviously, I'm really loved here by the fans. You get a bunch of grief out there in the bullpen. It's nice to throw the zeros up on them and get the team a win, and kind of show everybody that I'm better than that," Qualls said.Fans in Chicago will never forget his home run pitch to Konerko in the World Series that eventually ended in a White Sox sweep. Neither will he."They'll remember that until probably the day I retire," Qualls said. "It's just part of going on the road, heckling and everything else. I love it. They definitely won't let me forget."Lance Berkman hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth Saturday as Houston recovered after blowing a late 2-0 lead by collecting three hits off Chicago closer Bobby Jenks."In a situation where we were battling back, it makes it so much more painful," Jenks said. "I would rather have them go out and bang a couple off the wall instead of an inning like that."The White Sox have lost 12 of 14. The Astros, also struggling this season, have their first two-game winning streak since taking four straight from May 12-16.Adam Everett singled off third baseman Josh Fields' glove leading off the ninth against Jenks (2-2) and moved to third on a one-out single by Mark Loretta.Berkman, who is playing while appealing a two-game suspension handed out Friday for his actions following an ejection last Tuesday in Colorado, then dumped an opposite-field single to left for a 3-2 lead."I was looking for the ball, because it was almost impossible to see with those shadows. Obviously you're trying to get something up that you can elevate it a little bit and try to drive that run in," Berkman said. "He jammed me pretty good, but, like I said, I was just pleased to make contact in that situation."In the bottom of the ninth, Qualls walked Juan Uribe, who moved to second on a sacrifice and to third on a grounder before Mackowiak struck out.After another frustrating loss in a season that is quickly slipping away, the White Sox had a players-only meeting to hash some things out."I feel if you're having chats, something's not right," Chicago starter Jon Garland said. "Some things were said that needed to be said."White Sox DH Jim Thome hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 2-2.Houston starter Jason Jennings, bidding for his first win with the Astros, took a 2-0 lead into the eighth inning against the White Sox, who entered the game with a .232 team batting average.Fields singled to lead off, chasing Jennings. Reliever Trever Miller hit Rob Mackowiak with a pitch and after Tadahito Iguchi sacrificed, Thome delivered the two-run double to right center.Paul Konerko was walked intentionally and after A.J. Pierzynski struck out, Qualls (5-3) relieved and got Jermaine Dye to foul out.Jennings allowed six hits and a run in seven-plus innings in his third start since coming off the disabled list with elbow problems.Garland gave up a run and eight hits in seven innings, including Eric Munson's first homer leading off the second.Houston added on against reliever Bret Prinz in the eighth, as the boos began to fill U.S. Cellular Field. Prinz walked Loretta before Berkman doubled and Carlos Lee was walked intentionally to load the bases.After Boone Logan relieved and got a force at the plate, Mike Lamb hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Ryan Bukvich struck out Chris Burke with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Astros OF Hunter Pence, who had to leave Friday night's game with a sore hip flexor, didn't start as a precautionary measure. Craig Biggio was out of the starting lineup as part of a scheduled day off, but entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth. ... After completing the three-game series with the White Sox, the Astros will move across town to play a makeup against the Cubs on Monday. ... OF Jerry Owens, who had to leave Friday's game with a sore hamstring, didn't play and with Scott Podsednik and Darin Erstad both on the DL, the White Sox used Mackowiak as their leadoff hitter. ... Pierzynski appealed a one-game suspension and was in the lineup Saturday but said he might serve it Sunday.