Astros Edge Reds 1-0
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HOUSTON (AP) _ Lance Berkman hit his 35th homer, a career high, and rookie Kirk Saarloos allowed four hits in seven innings Sunday to lead the Houston Astros over the Cincinnati Reds 1-0.
Saarloos (6-3) struck out five and walked two, winning for the first time in three decisions since Aug. 10. He had won five starts in a row before his recent struggles.
Pedro Borbon finished, striking out three batters in the ninth, and got his first save since Aug. 20, 2000, for Toronto at Texas.
Ryan Dempster (7-13) allowed two hits and four walks in seven innings, giving up the first-inning homer to Berkman. Dempster is 2-5 in nine starts since Cincinnati acquired him from Florida on July 11.
Berkman’s homer topped his previous career high of 34, set last year. He has three homers in six games after hitting none from July 24 to Aug. 20. After the homer, Dempster allowed only one hit, a fifth-inning double by Craig Biggio.
Saarloos retired 10 straight batters from the fourth through seventh innings.
Borbon got out of the eighth inning with an unusual double play. Pinch-hitter Ruben Mateo walked and, one out later, Aaron Boone hit a broken-bat soft liner to Borbon. Mateo was running on the pitch and Borbon easily doubled him up at first.
Notes: Jeff Bagwell was 0-for-3, ending his 15-game hitting streak. ... The Astros used a shift every time Ken Griffey Jr. batted. It resulted in SS Adam Everett making two assists, including the start of one double play, on grounders to the right of second base. One double play was 6-5-3, with 3B Geoff Blum covering second ... It was the seventh shutout for the Astros pitching staff and the fifth shutout loss of the year for Cincinnati.