LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - J.R. Towles is trying to make the Houston Astros' choice on a starting catcher an easy one.
Towles had three hits, including an RBI single and his second spring home run Sunday, leading the Astros to a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers in a matchup of split-squads.
He hopes to fill the void behind the plate created when Jason Castro injured his knee and will likely miss the season.
``It's definitely a terrible thing that happened to (Castro) and you never wish bad luck on anybody; you just wish yourself good luck,' said Towles, who is 7 for 20 this spring. ``I'm just trying to make the most of it and hoping everything will take care of itself.'
Towles had second-inning RBI single off Tigers starter Max Scherzer, then connected for a homer off Jose Ortega in the sixth.
Magglio Ordonez's first home run accounted for Detroit's run off left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith in the first inning.
Rowland-Smith, competing for a spot in the Astros' rotation, gave up three hits in three innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third.
``I'm still having little spurts of inconsistency with my command and I went through that in the third inning,' the left-hander said. ``But I was able to bounce back.'
Detroit starter Max Scherzer gave up two runs on five hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings.
Scherzer also had some success getting out of jams, but gave up two runs on five hits and three walks before reaching his 90-pitch limit.
``I was trying to work on pitches, but you're out there to try to get outs,' said Scherzer, who wasn't too happy with his third start of the spring. ``The fastball location wasn't sharp, and I wasn't able to get in a real good rhythm.'
Clete Thomas had two of the Tigers' eight hits.
Ross Wolf pitched the final two innings to get a save.
The Associated Press News Service
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