Jays fall to Astros

The Associated Press

KISSIMMEE, Fla.—Carlos Correa and Preston Tucker homered, and George Springer scored three times, in the Houston Astros’ 7-5 split-squad win over a Toronto Blue Jays’ split squad yesterday.
Correa’s homer gave the Astros a 5-0 lead in the second inning against Toronto starter Brad Penny after a lead-off triple by Springer.
All five runs were scored by the Astros’ first three hitters (Jose Altuve, Springer, and Correa), who are batting a combined .365 and slugging .635 midway through the spring schedule.
The second spring homer for Correa, the AL’s Rookie of the Year last year at the age of 20, was hit over the centre-field wall.
“He’s going to be pitched differently this year and he’s going to have to adapt to different styles of pitching,” noted Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch.
“He’s not going to sneak up on anybody so there are no freebies for him.”
Tucker’s second homer came after a walk to Springer in the fifth.
Michael Feliz, a 22-year-old right-hander who appears to be Houton’ sixth or seven starter, pitched three shutout innings in his first start for the Astros, giving up three hits.
Josh Thole had two hits and drove in two runs for the Jays.
The Jays’ other split squad, meanwhile, cruised to a 12-0 win over the Canadian junior national team.
Scott Diamond tossed two perfect innings while prospect Connor Panas homered.
Diamond, who has not allowed a run in five outings, struck out four.
The left-hander is battling for an opening-day roster spot, but has not appeared in a big-league game since going 6-13 with Minnesota in 2013.
Panas, a ninth-round selection out of Canisius in last year’s draft, hit an RBI double off 18-year-old starter Josh Burgmann in the second.
He added a solo shot to right field in the fifth as part of a four-run inning.
Jays’ manager John Gibbons said facing Team Canada has become a tradition his players look forward to each spring.
“They get a thrill out of it,” he noted. “Of course, we’ve got some of our bigger big-league players that are Canadian . . . so it’s a fun day.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to the program they’re running over there,” he added.
Four Toronto pitchers combined on a one-hitter.
On the injury front, Jays’ first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion (strained oblique) participated in pre-game warm-up exercises, but Gibbons said no timeline has been set for his return.
Right-hander Marco Estrada (sore back) is scheduled to make his exhibition debut in relief of J.A. Happ on Sunday against the Pirates.