Game 10: Springer goes deep twice in tie with Nats
The facts: The Astros rallied for two runs in the ninth inning to tie the Nationals, 6-6, on Friday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla. (boxscore).
Analysis: The Astros got the chance to practice their base running aplenty Friday by pounding out 14 hits, drawing three walks and watching the Nationals commit three errors. Manager A.J. Hinch was pleased with the aggressiveness on the bases. A good example came in the second when Jed Lowrie walked and went from first to third on a single by Matt Dominguez. Lowrie wound up caught in a rundown between third and home on a Marwin Gonzalez fielder’s choice, but scored when the Nats dropped two throws.
Right fielder George Springer went 2-for-3 with his first two homers of the spring, and third baseman Luis Valbuena continued his strong showing at the plate by doing 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s batting .529 this spring.
Astros starter Scott Feldman retired eight of the first nine batters he faced and was one strike away from pitching a 1-2-3 third inning when he gave up a two-out single to Tony Gwynn Jr. That was the start of an inning where four consecutive batters reached with two outs, with Washington scoring three times on Feldman, who threw 51
“I think that’s just part of getting stretched out here in spring,” Feldman said. “My arm feels pretty good. Hopefully, it’s feeling this good when the season starts.”
Hinch said he was glad to see Feldman and Roberto Hernandez, who followed Feldman and allowed five hits and two runs in three inning, be able to work with some runners on base.
“These guys, it’s good for them to pitch under a little duress and get their adrenaline going and get them more towards season-type outings,” he said.
Darin Downs and Jake Buchanan each pitched one scoreless innings, and Josh Fields was tagged for a solo homer in his one inning of work.
Player of the game: Who else? George Springer, 2-for-3 with two homers.
Notable: Eight of the nine outs recorded by Feldman came on ground outs.
“He can hit the ball out of any ballpark in any location, so he doesn’t have to try to generate or over swing,”— manager A.J. Hinch on George Springer’s two homers.
“I’m going to be the same guy. If he wants me to hit one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine, that’s fine,” — Springer on his spot in lineup.
Up next: Right-hander Collin McHugh makes his third start of the spring after two scoreless outings when the Astros travel to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to meet the Braves at 5:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. McHugh led all Major League rookies with a 2.73 ERA lsat year and was named AL Rookie of the Month to cap a breakout season. Lefties Tony Sipp and Kevin Chapman and right-hander Chad Qualls are among those also scheduled to pitch.
Injury report: RHP Mark Appel (mild right forearm strain) will start Monday’s split-squad game in Viera against the Natioanls. … OF Preston Tucker (bruised right hand) hit on the field Friday and could return to game action on Saturday. … RHP Brad Peacock (hip surgery) will throw his second live bullpen session Saturday. … RHP Vincent Velasquez (strained right lat) began his throwing program and will begin the day on the DL.
Pictures of the day can be found at my Instagram page: https://instagram.com/brianmctaggartmlb/
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— Dallas Keuchel (@kidkeuchy) March 13, 2015