Astros' offense sparked in win over Braves

ATLANTA - Lance Berkman hit a first-inning homer, Hunter Pence had three hits and the Houston Astros responded to their manager's call for more offense with a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Before the game, manager Cecil Cooper said, 'Our big horses have got to hit. If they don't hit, the wagon don't move!'

The Astros had 12 hits, including Berkman's sixth homer, a liner off Jair Jurrjens that barely cleared the left-field wall.

Houston still led 1-0 in the second inning when a rain delay of 1 hour, 37 minutes took both starting pitchers out of the game.

Tim Byrdak (1-0) gave up two hits in 21/3 scoreless innings.

Chipper Jones' error helped the Astros score three runs off Buddy Carlyle (0-1) in the fourth.

Felipe Paulino, who took over for Roy Oswalt, gave up a tying run in the second when Jeff Francoeur doubled and scored on a wild pitch.

Houston's fourth pitcher, right-hander Chris Sampson, hobbled off the field at the end of the seventh after Jones' grounder hit his leg. Sampson recovered to throw out Jones at first before falling back to the ground. There was no immediate report on his status.

Jones' fielding error helped the Astros in their three-run fourth. Carlos Lee, who had two hits, singled before Jones mishandled Miguel Tejada's grounder at third for an error. Pence's infield hit loaded the bases.

Ivan Rodriguez drove in Lee with a single to right, pinch-hitter Darin Erstad's fly ball to left allowed Tejada to score, and Kaz Matsui's single up the middle drove in Pence for a 4-1 lead.

Two of the three runs in the inning were unearned. Jones was charged with a second fielding error in the seventh, when he couldn't snag Berkman's grounder.