Berkman Leads Surging Astros

2-run first inning HR keys 5-3 win over Reds
By Chip Bayers,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 5:59 PM CDT
Houston Astros closer Jose Valverde (47) high-fives catcher J.R. Towles after they defeated the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 in a baseball game, Thursday, April 24, 2008, in Cincinnati.    (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)
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(Newser) – Lance Berkman hit his 18th homer at Great American Ball Park—the most by any visiting player—and drove in three runs Thursday, leading the Houston Astros to their fifth straight win, 5-3 over the Cincinnati Reds. Berkman had a two-run homer and a run-scoring double off rookie Johnny Cueto (1-2), whose 96 mph fastball wasn't enough to slow the Astros' surging offense or get the Reds out of their slump.  

The Astros haven't done this well in a whole year. Houston's last five-game winning streak was April 16-20 last season. Its offense has led the way, scoring 41 runs during the streak. Even right-hander Jack Cassel (1-0) got involved, adding a run-scoring single for his first career RBI.