A rough outing for Dallas Keuchel turned into a comeback win for the Astros today in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Keuchel served up back-to-back homers to Chris Johnson and Justin Upton in the first inning to give Atlanta an early 4-0 advantage. But the lefty settled down and the Astros offense got on track against Braves’ starter David Hale.
The Astros got the comeback started with a 3-run fourth inning that included an RBI triple to centerfield by Robbie Grossman. Houston forged ahead in the fifth when, after three straight singles, Jonathan Villar squeezed home Chris Carter with nobody out.
Jason Stoffel replaced Keuchel in the fifth inning and was greeted by a Freddie Freeman homerun that got the Braves back even. Dexter Fowler walked and scored in the sixth to put the Astros ahead for good and make Stoffel a winner — thanks to some excellent work by Kevin Chapman, Andrew Robinson, Raul Valdes, and Ross Seaton out of the Astros ‘pen.
The Astros banged out 13 hits, including three by Fowler and two apiece by Altuve, Grossman, and Hoes. The defense was a little sloppy at times. Marwin Gonzalez booted a ball at shortstop and Altuve and Carter both made blunders that prevented the Astros from completing a couple of double plays.
Not only did Bo Porter manage like this was a regular season game, he also had his second-baseman positioned slightly to the left of second base with some right-handed pull hitters at the plate. It even worked a couple of times! We’ve become somewhat accustomed to seeing the shift employed with left-handed hitters in the box, but the Astros are taking it a step further this spring.
All in all, it was a good day to be an Astros fan — even if it is only Spring Training. The team rallied together and got some good relief pitching to put one in the win column. It was a nice change of pace after four consecutive losses.