Game 8: Long day against the Yankees

The fact: The split-squad Astros banged out 12 hits and committed three errors in a 9-6 loss to the Yankees on Saturday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium (boxscore).

Meanwhile, in Clearwater, the other Astros team lost, 11-3, to the Phillies (boxscore). That was despite LHP Dallas Keuchel throwing three hitless innings. But more on the game in Kissimmee…

What we learned: RHP Jarred Cosart’s focus on Saturday was his curveball, which is why he wasn’t too worried about the results, giving up two hits and two runs (one earned) in 1 2/3 innings of work.

Cosart said he’s been working with pitching coach Brent Strom on establishing his curveball the last few days because he thinks it could get hitters off his fastball if he can throw more strikes. He threw75 percent strikes with his curveball in the first inning and 65 percent in the second inning.

“Brent told me if I can do that throughout the year, I’m going to have a lot of success,” Cosart said. “They’re really not worried about the fastball as much right now because they think it’s going to be there, and I do, too. But at the same time, I’ve still got to throw more strikes.

Player of the game: DH Chris Carter. The big guy slugged his first home run of the spring, clubbing a three-run shot in the fifth inning that gave the Astros a 6-4 lead they couldn’t keep. Carter has been working on hitting more line drives this offseason.

“It’s just good to show that everything you worked on in and everything you worked on since you been here is coming together,” said Carter, who led the club with 29 homers last year. “I think I’m going to have a better this year with everything and be an all-around hitter.

What went wrong: The Astros were sloppy on defense. CF Dexter Fowler’s throw to the infield rolled into the dugout, allowing two runs to score. 2B Jose Altuve committed an error in the second that led to a run, and 1B Telvin Nash — a Minor Leaguer — mysteriously threw home when he had a shot at an inning-ending double play. SS Jonathan Villar also made his third error of the spring. … RHP Jose Cisnero, LHP Darin Downs and RHP Jake Buchanan each had rough days on the mound.

Notable: CF Dexter Fowler, 2B Jose Altuve and C Jason Castro, the top three hitters in the Astros lineup, went a combined combined 4-for-9. For Castro, it was his first hit of the spring after starting 0-for-10. … 3B-2B Cesar Izturis went 2-for-3 and could be a solid addition if he makes the club. … 1B Marc Krauss went 1-for-2 and is hitting .529 (9-for-17).

Quotable: “There was some fundamental things we need to get cleaned up, but I’ll you, I thought we swung the bat well. Altuve and Dexter swung the bat well early in the game and Carter with the big three-run homer. Krauss continues to swing the bat well. We did have a couple of fundamental things that led to a couple of extra outs for the other teams, and we’ll get those things cleaned up,” — Astros manager Bo Porter.

Up next: Left-hander Rudy Owens, who was roughed up in his first career Major League Spring Training start earlier this week, will get the ball for the Astros when they face the Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Osceola County Stadium. Anthony Bass, Raul Valdes, Matt Albers and Kevin Chapman are also scheduled to throw.

Injuries: RHP Mark Appel (recovering from appendectomy), RHP Asher Wojciechowski (lat strain), RHP Jesse Crain (biceps tendon surgery recovery).

Links of the day:

Porter unsuccessful in his first challenge of the spring

Jack Armstrong Jr., no longer a pitcher, trying his hand at first base

Tweets of the day:

Pictures of the day:

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Dexter Fowler gives Lucas Harrell a visual aid

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Harrell and Fowler help each other

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George Springer

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Springer follows through

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Correa follows through

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Correa

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Correa

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Correa talks to Geoff Blum, Jim Crane

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