WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) Bryce Harper returned to Washington’s lineup following surgery to remove an ingrown toenail, striking out twice and walking in the Nationals’ 8-1 exhibition victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
Stephen Strasburg pitched two innings in his first spring start for the Nationals. Coming off back-to-back 15-win seasons, Strasburg gave up a run on three hits and struck out two.
Houston starter Justin Verlander pitched three shutout innings and allowed two hits, while striking out five. Verlander has struck out nine in five shutout innings to begin Grapefruit League play.
RAYS 7, TIGERS 4
Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer didn’t make it out of the second inning in his second start. Archer set down just four batters and allowed two runs on two hits and two walks. C.J. Cron doubled in a run and scored for the Rays. Victor Martinez and Nicholas Castellanos both hit two-run home runs for Detroit. The Tigers announced ace Michel Fulmer will miss Sunday’s start against the Nationals with soreness in his right elbow. According to Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, Fulmer’s issue is unrelated to the offseason surgery he had to move the ulnar nerve to a different part of his elbow to alleviate numbness that bothered him last season.
YANKEES 5, RED SOX 3
Xander Bogaerts had two hits, including a double, and scored a run for Boston. Jackie Bradley Jr. swiped his first base for the Red Sox. New York’s top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield pitched two innings and gave up a run on two hits and two walks. Aaron Hicks had a solo home run for the Yankees, while top prospect Miguel Andujar capped New York’s three-run rally in the eighth with a two-out RBI single.
BLUE JAYS 13, TWINS 8
Kevin Pillar and Yangervis Solarte homered for the first time and Russell Martin added a three-run shot for Toronto. Pillar and Solarte both went deep off Minnesota starter Phil Hughes, who pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in his second start. Aaron Sanchez pitched three shutout innings and allowed one hit while striking out two in his second start for the Blue Jays.
ORIOLES 4, PHILLIES (SS) 2
Baltimore ace Kevin Gausman put a rough first start behind and pitched three perfect innings while striking out five. The right-hander retired just four batters and allowed four runs in his first outing. Gausman and the bullpen held a Philadelphia split squad hitless until Ryan Flaherty’s one-out single in the eighth.
PIRATES 4, PHILLIES (SS) 3
Pittsburgh ace Ivan Nova made his second start and pitched three innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out two. Jose Osuna hit his first home run in his only at-bat, a pinch-hit two-run shot in the seventh as the Pirates scored three times to win for just the second time this spring. Brandon Leibrandt, the son of former major league pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, retired just two batters and gave up three runs on four hits in his first appearance for Philadelphia.
MARLINS 1, METS 0
Noah Syndergaard pitched three innings in his second start for New York. He allowed one run on a hit and a walk and struck out four. His fastball once again topped 100 mph. Mets closer Jeurys Familia allowed one hit in a scoreless fifth inning. Wilmer Flores had two hits and Juan Lagares picked up his first hit in his second straight start in center field for the Mets. Miami starter Jose Urena pitched two shutout innings. He allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two. Justin Bour drove in the Marlins’ run.
BRAVES 9, CARDINALS 2
Nick Markakis had two hits for Atlanta, giving him five in his first seven at-bats, and Freddie Freeman added two doubles. Braves ace Julio Tehran pitched three scoreless innings, striking out three. Miles Mikolas, in the running for the back of the St. Louis starting rotation, didn’t fare well in his first start. The right-hander pitched three innings and allowed four runs on six hits.