Game 15: Astros can’t hang with Mets
What happened: The Mets scored three times in the third inning and four times in the fourth inning and held off a late charge to beat the Astros, 9-6, on Saturday afternoon at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (boxscore)
What we learned: Veteran RHP Edgar Gonzalez is a candidate to make the club in long relief. Gonzalez, who went 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA in six starts with the Astros at the end of last season, threw the final three innings and allowed one hit and one run while striking out two batters. With all the extra arms in competition for the rotation, Gonzalez’s future might lie in the bullpen. And he has extensive Major League experience in relief.
“He came in and threw three solid innings, attacked the strike zone and changed speeds and worked fast,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He was in the big leagues last year. He can start games, he can be in long relief. He’s a strike-thrower and changes speed and keeps the defense on their toes and ready to go. He did a tremendous job today.”
What else: 1B Carlos Pena cranked a two-run homer in the fourth inning. … 1B Nate Freiman had a two-run single to the opposite field. … RHP Chia-Jen Lo had another scoreless outing, striking out two batters in one inning. … Delino DeShields Jr., who came into the game in the sixth inning, had a pair of hits. … Porter was happy with the team’s fundamental play in the outfield, and they had plenty of chances considering the Mets bashed 12 hits, including five doubles. LF Marc Krauss and SS Jose Martinez had a terrific relay combination late in the game that nearly resulted in an out at the plate.
“We were pleased with the outfielders,” Porter said. “The relays were great, and this time of year you just want to make sure fundamentally you’re doing things right, you’re getting aligned right. Our guys are doing a good job with that.”
What went wrong: The Astros fell behind early for the second game in a row and couldn’t recover, despite swinging the bats pretty well. After starter RHP Alex White gave up five hits and four runs in 2 2/3 innings, LHP Kevin Chapman allowed three hits and three runs in one inning, and LHP Rudy Owens allowed a run and three hits in one-third of an inning. … LF Fernando Martinez‘s errant throw from left field in the fourth inning allowed a run to score.
What they said: “[The numbers] are always important, especially when I’m trying to make the club. Right now I”m trying to get my work in and get better at some things I need to get better at and I felt like I did that today. Just keep pitching.” — Astros starting pitcher Alex White.
What’s next: RHP Brad Peacock, acquired in last month’s trade that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland, will get the start in place of RHP Lucas Harrell, who’s nursing a slight groin strain when the Astros face the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. Peacock has pitched three innings in three different stints this spring, allowing six hits and five earned runs as he battles for a spot in the rotation.
Who’s injured: RHP Lucas Harrell (right groin strain) will miss his start Sunday and is day-to-day. … LHP Erik Bedard (right glute strain) threw in the bullpen on Saturday and should be close to game action. … IF Jake Elmore (left oblique strain) is day-to-day.
Links of the day: Astros notebook takes a closer look at Marc Krauss, has Jeff Luhnow talking about the scouting trail and more on Jake Goebbert’s life on the farm.
The day in photos: