Brandon Backe pitched five strong innings and Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer and scored another run, helping the Houston Astros beat the Florida Marlins 5-0 last night. Backe (1-1) gave up five hits and five walks with two strikeouts in 105 pitches. Florida put runners in scoring positions in every inning Backe pitched and came away with nothing, stranding nine runners in all.
The Marlins came into the game with the NL's third-best batting average (.274) and their 20 home runs tied with Arizona for the major-league lead. Florida set a team record with six homers in Friday's 10-6 win. But Backe and the Astros' bullpen, which came in with a 5.34 ERA, shut down the Marlins' offense in this one, teaming up for Houston's first shutout of the season.