Teixeira’s a happy Yankee
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Kelly Johnson homered after Mark Teixeira’s first hit of the spring, and the New York Yankees beat a Houston Astros split squad 9-6 on Saturday.
Teixeira, playing in his second spring game after missing most of last season due to wrist surgery, led off the third inning with a long double off reliever Darin Downs. Johnson hit the next pitch for his first homer.
Teixeira went 1-for-2 with a walk while “continuing to knock off some rust, get my legs in shape, get my swing in shape,” he said. “I was glad I saw a walk today. That was a good step for me, just seeing pitches.”
Teixeira was also happy to get some swings from both sides of the plate.
“I like doing that in spring training because we have days off, and sometimes pitchers are changing so much,” he said. “You can go two or three games without facing a left-handed pitcher. I’ll go a week without hitting right-handed.”
Chris Carter hit a three-run homer for the Astros, and Jose Altuve had two hits and scored twice.
Ivan Nova gave up three runs and eight hits in four innings in his second spring start for the Yankees. Carter’s first spring home run came off Manny Banuelos, the 23-year-old left-hander who didn’t pitch last season after having elbow surgery.
Chase Whitley got the win after striking out the only batter he faced. Jose Cisnero took the loss after giving up three hits in New York’s three-run sixth.
Houston manager Bo Porter used his first replay challenge unsuccessfully in the second inning, disputing an out call at first base after a bunt by Jonathan Villar.
Nationals (ss) 4
Cardinals 4 (10 inn.)
JUPITER, Fla. — Trevor Rosenthal had a pain-free spring training debut and Michael Wacha pitched three effective innings for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-4 tie with a Washington Nationals split squad that was called after 10 innings Saturday.
Groin pain prompted the Cardinals to sideline Rosenthal for a few days this spring, but that wasn’t a problem Saturday. The hard-throwing closer said he’s nearly in regular-season form following his first Grapefruit League appearance.
Wacha worked two perfect innings before allowing a run on two hits and a walk in the third.
Destin Hood’s three-run homer gave the Nationals a 4-1 lead in the eighth. St. Louis tied it with three in the bottom half, including Greg Garcia’s two-run single.
Former University of Hawaii and Kamehameha-Hawaii standout Kolten Wong did not play Saturday, after going 3 for 4 with two RBI on Friday against the New York Mets.
Nationals (ss) 8
Braves (ss) 2
VIERA, Fla. — Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche homered to lead the Washington Nationals over the Atlanta Braves 8-2 in a split-squad game Saturday.
Ross Detwiler, the leading candidate for the No. 5 spot in Washington’s rotation, gave up one run and six hits in two-plus innings. The left-hander continued to work on throwing more off-speed pitches instead of relying mostly on his fastball.
Taylor Jordan, another fifth-starter candidate, followed with three strong innings and struck out six.
Jordan was happy with his day, especially the fact that he wasn’t nervous. In his two previous outings, he said he could literally see his legs shaking.
Zimmerman had two hits, including a two-run homer.
Andrelton Simmons had two hits for Atlanta.
Blue Jays 4, Twins 3
DUNEDIN, Fla. — Jose Bautista hit his third home run of the spring for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-3 victory Saturday over the Minnesota Twins, who got three scoreless innings from newcomer Phil Hughes.
Hughes signed a $24 million, three-year contract in the offseason after spending his first seven seasons with the New York Yankees. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out two.
The right-hander missed most of spring training with a back injury last year and struggled mightily in the regular season, going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA with the Yankees.
Adam Lind was 2 for 2 with two doubles for the Blue Jays. Melky Cabrera added an RBI single and Edwin Encarnacion scored a run.
Bautista connected in the fourth off Twins closer Glen Perkins.
Byron Buxton, rated the No. 1 prospect in baseball, hit a two-run homer off Toronto starter Drew Hutchison in the third.
Hutchison struck out five, including three straight in the second, and walked one in three innings.
Pirates 10, Rays 5
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Russell Martin homered for the third time this spring and drove in four runs to lead Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 10-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.
Martin had an RBI single during a six-run first inning against Rays starter Matt Moore. The catcher added a three-run homer off Grant Balfour in the fourth. With six hits in his last 10 spring training at-bats, Martin has boosted his average to .462 through five games.
Liriano allowed one run and four hits in three innings. The left-hander walked one and struck out three.
Orioles (ss) 7
Red Sox (ss) 3
SARASOTA, Fla. — Bud Norris pitched three shutout innings in his second start of the spring, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3 on Saturday in the first of two split squad games between the teams.
The Red Sox then played the Orioles in Fort Myers on Saturday night.
Norris, the leading contender to be the Orioles’ No. 5 starter, allowed two hits and struck out four. In his first start on Monday, Norris allowed one hit in two shutout innings.
Rookie left-handed starter Henry Owens gave up three runs and five hits in 2 1-3 innings for Boston.
Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run home run in a four-run sixth for the Orioles.
Will Middlebrooks’ fourth inning homer off Tommy Hunter gave the Red Sox their first run.
Dodgers (ss) 5
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Paul Maholm pitched three steady innings and Mike Baxter went 2 for 2 with two RBIs for a split squad of Los Angeles Dodgers in their 5-5 tie with the Texas Rangers.
The game was halted after nine innings.
Adrian Gonzalez walked with the bases loaded for the Dodgers. Maholm allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
Gonzalez, who is hitting .353 in seven games, drew a five-pitch walk from Tanner Scheppers in the third to bring home Justin Turner.
Baxter, claimed off waivers from the New York Mets last fall, had a double and a sacrifice fly.
Shin-Soo Choo, who signed a $130 million, seven-year contract with the Rangers this offseason, went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, dropping his average to .176. Choo did drive in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Cubs 9, Reds 0
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer and made a diving catch for the Chicago Cubs in their 9-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Schierholtz’s drive off Alfredo Simon followed a walk to Donnie Murphy in the first inning. Schierholtz also singled and scored in the third. Ryan Kalish singled and scored twice for the Cubs.
Billy Hamilton walked leading off the game against Jason Hammel, who was making his first Cactus League start for the Cubs. The speedster stole second and third to give him six steals this spring.
Joey Votto doubled twice and walked in three trips for the Reds.
Mariners (ss) 18
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Backed by early two-run homers from Brad Miller and Michael Saunders, right-hander Erasmo Ramirez cruised through four scoreless innings to send a Seattle Mariners split squad to an 18-3 rout of the San Francisco Giants.
Ramirez earned his second victory in his third start of the spring by giving up one hit and walking one while striking out four.
Ryan Vogelsong struggled in his first start of the spring after two relief appearances for San Francisco. He gave up seven runs (five earned) and six hits in 2 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out two.
The Mariners scored four times in the first on the homers by Miller and Saunders. Seattle added five more runs in the third, helped by a pair of Giants errors.
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