Harrell battles location, but bats bust out for Astros
Potential Opening Day starter allows two runs; club rallies, collects 14 hits
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros opened their Grapefruit League schedules Saturday with a game at Bright House Field. For the Astros, it was their first game as an American League team, and they rallied from an early deficit to post an 8-3 victory, collecting 14 hits along the way.
Houston took a 3-2 lead in the fourth, when Nate Freiman -- who had two RBIs -- and Carlos Corporan each singled to knock in runs.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, playing in his first Spring Training game since 2010 because of knee injuries, ripped a single up the middle on the first pitch he saw from Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell in the first inning to score the Phillies' first run.
Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels threw two scoreless innings. Harrell allowed four hits, two runs and one walk in two innings.
"Physically, I feel really strong," Hamels said.
"I was just mainly trying to locate," said Harrell, who could be the Astros' Opening Day starter. "I didn't locate very well, and the results showed that. A couple of times I made good pitches and got a lot of ground balls, which was a plus. I was pulling off on my front side a little bit, and a few pitches were pretty flat. Then I started making [pitches in] the second inning when I went back out to make sure my front shoulder was closed. Just trying to work [at keeping] the ball down and work the sinker."
Robbie Grossman notched his first of two RBIs with a single, and Freiman added his second RBI in a two-run Astros fifth before Brandon Barnes clubbed a solo home run in the seventh.
Second baseman Pete Orr mashed the Phillies' first home run of the spring, a solo shot in the eighth.
The Phillies committed four errors.
Up next for Astros: Bud Norris takes the mound for the Astros in their first home game of Grapefruit League play at 12:05 p.m. CT on Sunday against the Mets at Osceola County Stadium, live on Gameday Audio. He's scheduled to throw two innings. Second baseman Jose Altuve, catcher Jason Castro, outfielder Rick Ankiel and designated hitter Carlos Pena, all of whom didn't make the trip to Clearwater on Saturday, are scheduled to get their first game action.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.