KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - The Houston Astros hope the regular season doesn't look like this.
The Atlanta Braves sent 26 batters to the plate over the first three innings, piling up 14 runs and 14 hits - six of them for extra bases - in a 14-9 split-squad win Friday.
Starter Jordan Lyles was pounded for six runs and seven hits while getting just two outs and facing nine batters.
``Definitely not concerned, but I don't think anybody's happy with giving up runs after runs,' the 22-year-old right-hander said. ``It's part of the game, but I think next time I'll start mixing in my cutter and slider. I think the results will be different when I start mixing in all those pitches and start going for outs more than quality strikes.'
Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer off Lyles and rookie Evan Gattis had one off reliever Sam Demel. Freeman hit his second home run of spring training and scored three times. Johnson had two of the Braves' 17 hits and scored three runs. Gattis, who had hits in each of the first three innings, drove in four runs.
``Some balls run, some balls stay straight. It's just a mixture of things this early on,' Lyles said. ``Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying here's the ball, hit it as far as you can, but ... yeah, guys are going to see the box score and they're not going to be happy, but I'm getting myself ready for April.'
Lyles has allowed 20 hits in five innings. His 25.20 ERA in two spring training starts looks ugly.
``There are some things that we would want to address. The ball looks elevated a little bit,' Astros manager Bo Porter said. ``But we're not worried about it. We're going to continue to work, he's going to continue to get the ball. There's still a lot of time left in spring training and we feel confident he'll be ready to go when the season starts. We expect him to be part of our rotation.'
After losing 106 games in 2011 and 107, the Astros already have a banged up potential rotation, with Lucas Harrell slowed by a strained groin and Erik Bedard by a strained gluteal muscley.
``We're not concerned at all,' Porter said. ``If Sunday were a regular-season game, Harrell would definitely make his start. It's more precautionary than anything. Even Bedard got on the mound today and pitched a little bit. If those guys had to push themselves because we were in the regular season, they would definitely be able to do that.'
Demel did little better, giving up five runs, three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Wesley Wright, one of just four Astros making more than $1 million, allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning.
``On a positive note, I want to stress this - from the fourth inning on we won the ballgame 7-0,' Porter said. ``It speaks to the never-say-die attitude of our ballclub and these guys fighting back to make it a ballgame. When you have guys diving after balls in this type of game, we take notice of those things. Even in the last inning, we sat there and said let's find some way to get the tying run to the plate.'
Braves starter Sean Gilmartin, making his first spring training start of the year, gave up two runs and five hits in three innings.
With Houston trailing 14-1, Gilmartin hit his third exhibition homer starting the third. Marc Krauss homered in the fifth against Christhian Martinez, and Trevor Crowe hit a bases-loaded triple.
The Associated Press News Service
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