Game 25: Astros club 4 homers to back pitching
What happened: The Astros slugged four homers, including two by backup catcher Carlos Corporan, and got solid pitching from Lucas Harrell, Hector Ambriz and Brad Peacock to beat the Tigers, 7-2, on Thursday night at Joker Marchant Stadium (boxscore).
What we learned: C Carlos Corporan is feeling as good as he has all spring at the plate, and he might even be swinging the best bat of his career. The switch-hitting backup backstop blasted two homers — one off Justin Verlander and the other off Al Albuquerque.
“You can mature in the game and you get to know your swing and you learn,” Corporan said. “You can learn what the pitcher is trying to do. My swing has always been there and now I have more experience and figured out what they’re trying to do to me. I feel more mature.”
What we learned II: The Astros are going to have a tough decision to make when it comes to deciding the final two spots in the rotation. The club’s off-season mission of adding starting pitching depth worked, and with a week to go in camp, RHPs Brad Peacock, Alex White and Edgar Gonzalez and LHP Erik Bedard are all pitching well down the wire. Peacock worked three scoreless innings in relief Thursday.
“I felt good,” he said. “I was getting in better counts and I threw strikes. That’s all I wanted to accomplish, and that’s what I did. I threw good tonight, and hopefully I opened some eyes.”
What else: IF Brandon Laird was thrown into the game when Brett Wallace left with a pinched nerve in his neck, and he smacked his fifth homer of the spring to tie C Jason Castro for the team lead. … 3B Matt Dominguez continues to swing a good bat this spring, going 2-for-4 with a homer to improve his batting average to .314. … The Astros turned double plays in the second and sixth innings. … RF Rick Ankiel showed off his arm, throwing out a runner at third base in the fifth inning. … The Astros didn’t make an error.
What went wrong: Other than Wallace leaving with a mild injury, it was a near flawless night for the Astros.
What they said: “We don’t have a good team on paper, but on talent I think we have a really, really good team. We have a lot of people who can change the game with one swing. That’s going to be my goal this year, trying to keep it two or three runs per game and I know someone is going to turn on one. That’s the big difference between this year and last year.” — Astros backup C Carlos Corporan.
What’s next: RHP Bud Norris, who was named as the club’s Opening Day starter on Wednesday, gets the start for the Astros when they face the Cardinals at 12:05 p.m. Friday at Osceola County Stadium. RHP Jose Veras, who just helped the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic, is scheduled to get back on the mound for the Astros for the first time since March 1.
Who’s injured: OF Fernando Martinez (lower back strain) is day-to-day. … 1B Brett Wallace (pinched nerve in neck/upper back) is day-to-day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (bruised shin) took a liner off his shin during a Triple-A game on Thursday and is day-to-day.
Tweet of the day:
Corporan power show!
— Jeff Luhnow (@jluhnow) March 21, 2013
Links of the day:
- The Astros are looking to OF Justin Maxwell for set an example on and off the field.
- Brandon Laird’s big spring puts him in the mix to make an Opening Day roster for the first time.
- Brett Wallace is going to bat second in the lineup against right-handers.
- Lucas Harrell encouraged by his start against Tigers.
- Carlos Corporan getting the most from his pitchers and his bat.
The day in photos: