The Astros played in their second and final set of split squad games on Monday. Dallas Keuchel heads up a team that played in Kissimmee against the Braves. While Mark Appel started for the other team that headed to Space Coast Stadium to the face the Nationals.
The Astros have played either the Braves and Nationals in their last five games. Houston got a taste of the regular season with the Nationals in a quasi three-game series that included starts from Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Jordan Zimmermann.
Astros 2, Braves 2:
In the home game, the previously mentioned Dallas Keuchel got the start for the Astros. Keuchel gave up two runs on three hits and two walks over three innings. Keuchel opened the third by giving up a home run to catcher John Buck. The Braves would follow with a Eury Perez double and Eric Young Jr. walk. Freddie Freeman would laced a pitch to right field to score the Braves' second run.
Jose Altuve led off the bottom of the first with a double, he would later score after advancing on back-to-back ground out by Marwin Gonzalez and Colby Rasmus. L.J. walked in the second and scored on a Gergo Petit double to left field.
Chad Qualls, Tony Sipp, and Jake Buchanan each had clean outings. Josh Fields loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs. Sipp relieved Fields and forced John Buck to ground out and hold the score to 2-2. Chris Lee, 22 year-old pitcher who last pitched in Single-A Quad Cities, made his first appearance this spring. He pitched one scoreless inning, striking out Alberto Callaspo and John Buck.
Former Astro Jose Veras pitched a scoreless fifth inning for the Braves.
Astros 1, Nationals 2:
Mark Appel toed the rubber for the Astros in Viera, FL. Appel was making his second appearance and first start this spring. Michael Taylor welcomed him to the game by flipping a pitch over George Springer's head for a triple. Taylor scored on a Ian Desmond sac fly. The Astros starter would walk Bryce Harper and Ian Stewart before retiring the side in the first. Appel rebounded in the second, retiring three straight batters after a Mike Carp single to open the inning. Appeal's final line was 2 IP, 2H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K.
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann was in midseason form, allowing one unearned run on three hits over four innings. The Astros' run came after Robbie Grossman rocketed a pitch right back at Zimmermann, Zimmermann was able to knock it down with his glove before the ball him square. Zimmermann, after watching his life flash before his eyes, scrambled and fired the ball past new first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Grossman moved to third on the throwing error. Jonathan Villar singled home Grossman for the team's lone run.
Samuel Deduno continued his excellent spring, scattering four hits in the three scoreless innings. Deduno has allowed one run over eight innings this spring. Luke Gregerson and Darin Downs pitched a scoreless innings each. Kevin Chapman retired the first two batter he faced in the seventh. He would allow a single to Tony Gwynn Jr. and a triple to Clint Robinson for the Nats' second run.
Carlos Correa was 2-for-4 in the game.
Astros head to Bradenton, FL to the Pirates at 12:05 PM CT on Tuesday.