Markakis makes debut, gets 2 hits as Braves top Astros 14-10
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Nick Markakis finally got in a game for the Atlanta Braves, getting two hits Monday in a 14-10 win over the Houston Astros.
''You couldn't have scripted it any better,'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ''We got him his three at-bats, got him four innings. He ran the bases, and we got him out of there.''
Markakis had neck surgery in December after nine seasons with Baltimore Orioles and signed with Atlanta as a free agent. He is to play right field for the first time this year Tuesday against Philadelphia.
He led off the third inning with a double off Scott Feldman, then singled in the fourth.
Feldman and Darin Downs allowed 13 of Atlanta's 19 hits.
''It's a little embarrassing to have games like that, but it's not like I'm checking my stats and stuff,'' said Feldman, who is to get two more spring training starts. ''I know I need to work on a couple things and, hopefully, we get it knocked out before the season starts.''
Eric Young and Zoilo Almonte each had three of the Braves' 19 hits. Andrelton Simmons drove in four runs, two of with a triple in a five-run fifth off Darin Downs.
Evan Gattis, acquired by the Astros from Atlanta in January, hit his first home run of spring training, a third-inning drive off James Russell.
Gattis, who had been limited to 14 at-bats by a sore wrist, was a designated hitter Monday.
''That's vintage Evan Gattis - he swung hard on quite a few pitches,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''When he's right, he's a real threat and we saw that today.''
Gattis is to play left field for the Astros on Wednesday against the Phillies.
Braves: Simmons left the game after being hit on the left elbow by a pitch, but the Braves do not think he is injured.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock, recovering from offseason hip surgery, is to pitch two innings Tuesday in a minor league game.
Braves: Michael Kohn pitched the first inning, giving up two walks, in place of Mike Foltynewicz, who was scratched due to uncertainty over the weather.
Astros: Feldman gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings.
Roberto Hernandez, Asher Wojciechowski and Brett Oberholtzer remain in the competition for two spots in the rotation after Monday's cut of Dan Straily and Hinch's declaration that Brad Peacock will not be ready. Oberholtzer, limited to two spring training starts because of a lat strain, will get one of the slots if he is ready.
Braves: Foltynewicz is start against the Phillies and be followed by LHP Manny Banuelos.
Astros: Collin McHugh makes his fifth spring start against a Mets' split squad at St. Lucie.