Berkman drives in 5 as Cards beat Astros 11-7

Lance Berkman homered and drove in four runs during a nine-run sixth inning, then added a solo shot in the ninth against his former team Thursday night to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 11-7.

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St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols (5) points toward teammate Lance Berkman at first base after Berkman drove him in to score for the second time, in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in a baseball game Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Houston.

Berkman’s three-run shot off Fernando Abad (1-2) gave St. Louis a 5-4 lead, as a mixture of cheers and boos rained down on the slugger who spent 12 seasons with the Astros.

Matt Holliday drove in three runs during the sixth inning, and Kyle McClellan and David Freese each drove in a run as four Houston pitchers faced 14 batters before finally escaping the sixth. By that point, the Cardinals had pulled ahead 10-4.

McClellan (4-0) allowed eight hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings for the win.

Chris Johnson hit a two-run homer and Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee each drove in two runs for Houston, though they couldn’t make up for the Cardinals’ one big inning.

Berkman finished with four hits and a triple short of the cycle. He totaled eight hits and seven RBI in his first series against his former team. It was his third multi-home run game of the season and the 28th of his career.

The switch hitter scored his first homer right-handed and the second, which landed behind the Astros bullpen in right-center field, came from the left side.

Freese and Albert Pujols hit consecutive singles before Holliday chased Houston starter Nelson Figueroa and trimmed the Cardinals’ deficit to 4-2 in the sixth inning.

Abad was eventually replaced by Jeff Fulchino after each batter in the St. Louis lineup hit once in the sixth, and the Cardinals had pulled ahead.

Berkman ended the scoring in that inning with an run-scoring single to right field. This time, most of the fans booed the former Houston star. After Pujols scored, he turned and pointed to a smiling Berkman at first base.

The Astros finally got out of the sixth inning when Colby Rasmus grounded out.

Figueroa yielded six hits and four runs in 5-plus innings for Houston.

Pence and Lee drove in a run each on consecutive singles in the eighth inning to make it 10-7. They advanced on a passed ball before Trever Miller walked Brett Wallace to load the bases, but Pence was thrown out after trying to score on a slider in the dirt to end the inning.

Fernando Salas allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings for the save.

Johnson’s two-run shot to left center field gave Houston a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Michael Bourn doubled and scored on a single by Pence that stretched the lead to 3-0 in the third inning.

Gerald Laird singled home Berkman to make it 3-1 in the fifth inning. Berkman had a hard hit double down the right field line to set up that score.

Lee snapped an 0-for-16 streak with an RBI double that extended Houston’s lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning. Angel Sanchez drove in a run for Houston in the sixth inning.

Figueroa didn’t allow a hit until Freese singled to start the fourth inning. He was picked off at third when Figueroa overthrew first base for an error, but Bill Hall connected with Johnson for the out.

Notes: Houston reliever Wilton Lopez, on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his right elbow, will throw a simulated game Saturday. ... Cardinals’ SS Ryan Theriot was out of the lineup for the third straight day after injuring his rib cage in batting practice Tuesday, but entered the game in the eighth inning.

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