CINCINNATI (AP) — Lance Berkman’s second home run in two nights overshadowed the 568th of Ken Griffey Jr.’s career and lifted the Houston Astros to a 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Trailing 5-4 in the top of the seventh, Berkman lofted an 0-1 pitch from rookie Brad Salmon (0-1) into the seats in left field with Craig Biggio on first base.
Berkman’s homer was his 14th at Great American Ball Park, the most by any opponent. Berkman has 37 career homers and 106 RBIs against Cincinnati, his highest totals against any team.
Brad Lidge (2-0) got the win, striking out Ryan Freel — the only batter he faced — to end the sixth.
After Morgan Ensberg hit an RBI double in the ninth to give Houston a two-run lead, Brandon Phillips hit his sixth homer of the year with one out off closer Dan Wheeler to pull the Reds within 7-6. Wheeler recovered to notch his seventh save in eight opportunities, sending the Reds to their sixth loss in their last seven games.
Griffey followed a Phillips single with his fifth home run of the season to give Cincinnati a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning. He lined a 1-2 pitch from left-hander Wandy Rodriguez into the right-field seats.
Griffey’s homer left him one behind Rafael Palmeiro for ninth place on baseball’s career homer list. He’s hit all five of his home runs in his last 11 games.
The homer left Griffey hitting .800 (8-for-10) with two homers in his career against Rodriguez.
Cincinnati starter Eric Milton lasted 5 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs. He remained winless in his last 13 starts dating back to August.
Rodriguez allowed eight hits and five runs, walking two and striking out five in 5 2-3 innings. He hasn’t won in 12 starts.
Houston opened up a 4-0 lead on Carlos Lee’s two-run homer in the first, Adam Everett’s RBI groundout in the second and Jason Lane’s run-scoring double in the third.