A five-run fifth inning lifted the Astros past the Detroit Tigers 9-4 in a rain-soaked Grapefruit League game at Osceola County Stadium on Tuesday with both teams playing with a split squad. Bo Porter managed the group in Kissimmee.
Infielder Brett Wallace singled in the first run of the fifth inning while outfielders Robbie Grossman and Trevor Crowe added an RBI double and RBI triple, respectively, to increase their lead to 9-3.
“Overall great job today,” Porter said. “We ran the bases, we swung the bat, we played defense.”
Wallace led Houston’s 11-hit offensive effort, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including his first home run of spring training. Catcher Jason Castro had hits at both plate appearances, including his second home run of camp. Outfielder Rick Ankiel added two hits as well.
“Those guys are veteran guys,” Porter said. “They’ve played a lot of baseball. They understand their swing and it’s good to see those guys get out to an early start.”
Starting left-handed pitcher Erik Bedard had a solid Astros debut allowing two hits with one strikeout, one walk and no earned runs in two innings of work. Jose Veras, John Ely, Kevin Chapman and Rudy Owens, and Josh Fields also saw action on the mound in the win.
When asked if he liked what he saw from Bedard -- very methodical, seemed to have the vet approach to where he dictated the tempo, Porter simply replied, “Exactly.”
“Our pitchers did a great job, especially the starters,” Porter added. “Bedard and Ely came in and located their fastballs well.”
Although he gave up two earned runs off three hits in two innings of work, Ely was credited with the win.
Porter also liked what he saw from the rest of the pitchers, including Fields, who took the mound for the first time for the Astros.
“There is some deception there which is actually good because the ball jumps up on you,” Porter said. “He has a great put-away breaking ball, which will help you with that deception. He did a great job of picking us up in the eighth and going back out in the ninth and finishing the game off.”
The other squad that was managed by bench coach Eduardo Perez and traveled to Port Charlotte to face Tampa Bay lost, 7-2. Right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles, who made his spring debut, got the loss. Infielder Matt Dominguez went 2-for-2 with a home run.
The Astros will travel to Dunedin to take on the Toronto Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. on Wednesday.