WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) Bryce Harper returned to Washington’s lineup following surgery to remove an ingrown toenail, striking out twice and walking in the Nationals’ 8-1 exhibition victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
Stephen Strasburg pitched two innings in his first spring start for the Nationals. Coming off back-to-back 15-win seasons, Strasburg gave up a run on three hits and struck out two.
Houston starter Justin Verlander pitched three shutout innings and allowed two hits while striking out five. Verlander has struck out nine in five shutout innings to begin Grapefruit League play.
Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer didn’t make it out of the second inning in his second start. Archer set down just four batters and allowed two runs on two hits and two walks. C.J. Cron doubled in a run and scored for the Rays.
Victor Martinez and Nicholas Castellanos each hit a two-run homer for Detroit. The Tigers announced ace Michael Fulmer will miss Sunday’s start against the Nationals with soreness in his right elbow. According to Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, Fulmer’s issue is unrelated to the offseason surgery he had to reposition the ulnar nerve to alleviate numbness that bothered him last season.
Xander Bogaerts had two hits, including a double, and scored for Boston. New York pitching prospect Justus Sheffield worked two innings and gave up a run on two hits and two walks. Aaron Hicks hit a solo homer, and third base prospect Miguel Andujar had an RBI single.
Kevin Pillar and Yangervis Solarte homered, and Russell Martin added a three-run shot for Toronto. Pillar and Solarte both went deep off Minnesota starter Phil Hughes, who pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in his second start. Aaron Sanchez tossed three shutout innings in his second start for the Blue Jays.
Baltimore right-hander Kevin Gausman put a rough first start behind him and pitched three perfect innings while striking out five. Gausman and the Orioles‘ bullpen held a Philadelphia split squad hitless until Ryan Flaherty’s one-out single in the eighth.
Ivan Nova made his second start for Pittsburgh and pitched three innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out two. Jose Osuna hit a two-run homer to help the Pirates win for the second time this spring.
Brandon Leibrandt, the son of former major league pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, retired just two batters and gave up three runs on four hits in his first appearance for Philadelphia.
Noah Syndergaard pitched three innings in his second start for New York. He allowed one run and struck out four as his fastball once again topped 100 mph. Mets closer Jeurys Familia worked a scoreless inning, and Wilmer Flores had two hits.
Johnny Cueto pitched two innings in his first start for San Francisco, yielding two runs on three hits and a walk. Joe Panik led off the game with a home run as a Giants split squad roughed up Texas ace Cole Hamels in his first start.
Hamels pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on five hits. Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run homer off Cueto.
Tyler Chatwood tossed two innings and gave up only a walk in his second outing for Chicago. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber all had hits for the Cubs. Luis Castillo pitched 2 2/3 innings in his second start for Cincinnati. Castillo gave up a run on five hits while striking out four. Reds slugger Joey Votto remained hitless this spring.
Hunter Renfroe homered and added an RBI single for San Diego, while top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. walked twice and stole his first two bases.
Stephen Piscotty hit his first spring homer for Oakland, a two-run shot. Kendall Graveman, the Athletics’ No. 1 starter, struggled again. Graveman got just four outs and gave up four runs on four hits and two walks. His ERA rose to 13.50 after two outings.
Austin Jackson had two hits, including a double, and scored twice leading off for San Francisco. Mac Williamson had three hits, including his third home run, and drove in three runs for the Giants’ split squad.
Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin pitched two innings in his second start. He allowed five runs on six hits and a walk, striking out four. Edwin Encarnacion homered for the Indians, a two-run shot.
Trevor Story and Ryan McMahon homered for Colorado. Rockies starter Kyle Freeland, vying for a spot at the back of the rotation, pitched three innings and allowed three runs on five hits with a walk.
Milwaukee slugger Eric Thames had a double and his first spring home run, while Brewers ace Zach Davies pitched two innings in his second start. Davies allowed a run on two hits and a walk. Chase Anderson, who slots in at No. 3 in Milwaukee’s rotation, followed Davies and pitched three innings. He gave up a run on four hits and a walk.
Jean Segura hit a two-run homer and Robinson Cano had an RBI single for Seattle. Dee Gordon finished with two hits, including a triple, but Nelson Cruz struck out twice and is still looking for his first hit.
Jefry Marte, batting .615 this spring for Los Angeles, left the game with a groin injury. Tyler Skaggs, in the hunt for a rotation spot, gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in three innings. Martin Maldonado and Matt Thaiss homered.
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