Granderson rips two homers as Mets whip Astros


By JON SANTUCCI

Associated Press

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — With his parents in the stands, Curtis Granderson put on quite a show.

Granderson hit two home runs and Zack Wheeler pitched three scoreless innings as the New York Mets beat the Houston Astros 6-2 Tuesday.

Granderson, showing off the power that helped him get a four-year, $60 million deal as a free agent in the offseason, hit a two-run shot in the first inning and added a solo drive in the second.

Both home runs were to right field, with the second landing on the sidewalk above the grass berm.

“I hope to see 25 more of those when the bell rings,” Mets manager Terry Collins said with a smile. “Obviously, with the way he hit the ball today, I would have to say he’s seeing it pretty good at this moment.”

Eric Young Jr., playing his first game of the spring after being out with a side injury, led off the first with a walk and scored on a double by Chris Young.

Granderson then became the third Mets player in the first three home games to hit a ball well over the right-field wall.

“It’s been interesting to watch the whole team,” Granderson said. “(Lucas) Duda’s done it, (Ike) Davis has done it — there’s power here. Chris Young has been amazing in terms of his extra-base hits and all those different things.”

“As long as you get guys on base, like we were able to do in the first inning today, we have a chance to bring guys around, which we were able to do,” he said.

Travis d’Arnaud got two hits for the Mets. Jonathan Villar hit a two-run homer for the Astros.

Giants 3, Rockies 2

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner took another positive step in preparation for his first opening-day start, throwing three scoreless innings in the San Francisco Giants’ 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Bumgarner allowed a ground single and a bloop single while striking out one. He’s thrown five scoreless innings this spring training. Ryan Vogelsong followed and allowed one run and three hits in three innings.

Ryan Wheeler’s double in the sixth scored the first run allowed by the Giants’ projected starting rotation in 14 innings.

Tyler Colvin and Tony Abreau drove in runs in the fourth against closer LaTroy Hawkins.

Colorado’s Juan Nicasio allowed two hits and struck out four in three scoreless innings as he competes for a starting job.

Angels 7, Rangers 4

TEMPE, Ariz. — Raul Ibanez homered off Yu Darvish and the Los Angeles Angels topped the Texas Rangers 7-4.

Ibanez hit a leadoff homer in the second and Chris Iannetta had a long double later in the inning.

Darvish gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in three innings.

Angels starter Tyler Skaggs, a solid candidate for the back end of the Angels’ starting rotation, allowed three hits and two runs with two walks in 2 1-3 innings of his spring debut.

Ibanez and Mike Trout each got two hits for the Angels.

Braves 8, Nationals 4

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Stephen Strasburg pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut for Washington, but Phil Gosselin took advantage of Nationals rookie manager Matt Williams’ unusual defensive shift in the eighth inning to give the Atlanta Braves an 8-4 victory.

Gosselin hit a bases-loaded triple to a vacated right field after Williams had ordered a five-man infield with one out and a tie game. The Braves added a fourth run in the inning and won for the first time in eight games this spring.

“We figured we’d try it,” Williams said of the defensive ploy. “It’s one of our plays in case we need it.”

Gosselin, primarily a second baseman, was up briefly with the Braves last year, going 2 for 6 in four games. He is expected to start this season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

“I wish they would take a defender off all the time,” Gosselin said. “I’d seen it before in college, but I was a little surprised when they did it. The catcher said it was something they had been working on.”

Until then, the attention was on Strasburg. Coming off October surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, he allowed one hit and needed only 15 pitches, 11 of them strikes, in his two innings. Justin Upton singled with one out in the second inning, but was erased on a double play.

“He could have gone another (inning), but we didn’t want to push him,” Williams said.

“I feel good,” said Strasburg, who was 8-9 with a 3.00 ERA last season. “I threw some off-speed pitches and got some good results.”

Washington’s Ian Desmond was 3 for 3 with a homer, double and stolen base. The first-inning double was the only hit in three innings off Braves starter Kris Medlen, who walked one and struck out three.

Royals 9, Reds 5

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez each homered off Johnny Cueto and drove in three runs, helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-5.

Hosmer hit a three-run homer as the Royals batted around in a five-run third that included consecutive triples by Billy Butler and Alex Gordon.

“You’ve got to love Arizona,” Hosmer said. “That’s about 30 percent my power and 70 percent Arizona. I got a good piece of it, but Arizona might have helped it out a little bit. You want to work good at-bats and as a team I think we did that today, so it was productive.”

Perez went 3 for 3, with a home run in the second, RBI double in the third and a run-scoring single in the fifth.

Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back homers as the Reds batted in a four-run first off left-hander Danny Duffy. The Royals committed two errors in the inning, and Duffy had a wild pitch and hit a batter.

Pirates 5, Tigers 2

LAKELAND, Fla. — Charlie Morton allowed one hit in three scoreless innings, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Morton did not strike out a batter, but he kept Detroit off the bases during his short stint, aside from Don Kelly’s second-inning double.

“I made some decent pitches and got lucky a few times,” Morton said. “They put some really good swings on the ball and I was fortunate it went right at somebody.”

Kelly had two hits for the Tigers, and Austin Jackson hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Detroit’s runs.

Pittsburgh scored three times in the third off Rick Porcello. Jaff Decker brought a run home with a bunt single, Gregory Polanco hit an RBI double and Pedro Alvarez added a run-scoring groundout.

Marlins 3 Twins 1

JUPITER, Fla. — With one start, Minnesota Twins newcomer Phil Hughes is already making progress more quickly than a year ago.

Hughes allowed one run in 2 2-3 innings in his debut for the Twins, who lost to the Miami Marlins 3-1.

Last year Hughes went 4-14 with the New York Yankees after missing all of spring training because of a back injury.

“I hope that’s a big improvement for me,” Hughes said. “Everyone says these are exhibitions and you go through the motions and they don’t count, but for pitchers it’s really important to get these repetitions and build up arm strength.

“I don’t want to make any excuses for the season I had last year, but I didn’t have a spring training, and it’s definitely difficult,” he said. “To have a healthy spring and build my pitch count on a normal progression will help a lot.”

Hughes allowed two hits and one walk and struck out three. He threw 44 pitches, 25 for strikes.

Marlins newcomer Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his first home run leading off the fourth. Miami’s Tom Koehler allowed one run in two innings in his second start of spring training.

The Marlins won even though they committed five errors and let an easy popup drop for a hit.

 

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