Astros open spring slate with 7-5 win over Braves
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Dexter Fowler had two RBIs in his Houston debut and Chris Carter added a run-scoring double that helped the Astros beat the Atlanta Braves 7-5 Friday night.
Fowler was acquired from Colorado this offseason to play center field and bat leadoff. He put Houston up 2-1 in its spring training opener with a two-run single in the second inning that chased Braves starter Brandon Beachy. He was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Fowler, who had spent his entire career with the Rockies, was excited to get things going with his new teammates.
''It was awesome,'' he said. ''It's just good to be back on the field. You always feel like the offseason's long. Getting back and getting with a new team, and we did a lot of things right today.''
Marc Krauss put the Astros ahead 3-2 with a ground-rule double in the fifth. Carter followed with a run-scoring double to left field.
Dan Uggla drove in two runs, and Freddie Freeman had two hits and an RBI for the Braves.
Delino DeShields and Marwin Gonzalez both drove in a run in the sixth for Houston.
Astros: Lucas Harrell allowed a hit and a run with four walks in two innings. He said he was a bit amped up in the first inning, but settled down and felt better in the second. He joked that walking so many Braves gave him a chance to practice working out of jams.
Braves: Beachy gave up five hits and two runs in 1 2-3 innings. The right-hander made just five starts last season after having reconstructive elbow surgery in 2012. He said he felt good on Friday night, but is eager to see how he feels on Saturday morning.
''I'm just going to keep going out there and keep doing what the training staff asks me to do,'' he said. ''I feel pretty confident in the way I've been feeling and the way I'm going to feel. I've got April and October in mind and not today.''
Astros: Manager Bo Porter isn't sure when right-hander Mark Appel, the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, will appear in a game this spring as he recovers from last month's emergency appendectomy. Appel reported to camp on time, but the Astros are bringing him along slowly.
''We actually haven't even talked about him getting into the game,'' Porter said. ''The progress has been really good (with) him getting his bullpens done. We think that he's coming along quite well.''
Braves: Catcher Gerald Laird remained out after leaving Thursday's game with a lower back strain. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he was day to day.
Houston reliever Matt Albers took a sharp grounder hit by Freeman in the fourth inning the off the end of his glove and tumbled to the ground. He was a bit shaken up after the single, and remained sitting on his backside near the mound while his defense ended the inning by throwing Cunningham out at home.
''Luckily for us, he was fine and everything's OK,'' Porter said.
AMADOR ARRIVES: Houston's Japhet Amador, a non-roster invitee who is expected to compete for a first base job, arrived in camp on Friday after reporting late to be in Mexico with his pregnant wife who was ill. The 6-foot-4, 300-plus-pound slugger hit .368 with 36 homers and 121 RBIs in the Mexican League last season.
''We'll see what type of condition he's in,'' Porter said. ''We'll get him some live BP and get him moving on the field and we'll just play it by ear. Just see how he's reacting to the workload.''