Houston's bullpen, lineup do the job
Astros pound out 12 hits, five for extra bases vs. Yanks
ASTROS 9, YANKEES 5
at Tampa, Fla.
Friday, March 7
Astros at the plate: Victor Diaz blasted an 0-1 offering from starter Andy Pettitte out of the park to put the Astros up 2-0 in the first inning. Houston would strike twice more in the fifth, on a groundout from Jose Cruz Jr. and a single off the bat of Hunter Pence. Lance Niekro scurried home on a fielder's choice for the Astros' seventh run.
Yankees at the plate: Alex Rodriguez's sore shoulder didn't hold the designated hitter back from drilling a double to left for the first hit of the game in the second inning. Jason Lane and Brett Gardner also doubled in the frame to tie the game at 2. Gardner added a leadoff triple in the fifth to finish perfect (2-for-2) at the plate. Wilson Betemit smacked his second homer of the year in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5.
Astros on the mound: Starter Shawn Chacon kept his former team grounded in his first inning of work, but he surrendered three doubles in the second inning, which, combined with a follow-up single, allowed the Yankees to score twice. Righty Chris Sampson relieved Chacon in the fourth and scattered five hits over the next three innings, allowing three earned runs and fanning two to hit the showers with a no-decision.
Yankees on the mound: Steven White took the loss after he allowed three runs (two earned) over the sixth and seventh innings, walked two and fanned one. Mariano Rivera worked an inning for the first time this spring and did it with pizzazz. The closer retired the side on just eight pitches in the third inning, which included a first-pitch groundout sandwiched between two punch outs. In his second start, Pettitte sat the Astros down in order in the first frame, but he hit Geoff Blum with a pitch to start the second and served up a homer to Diaz two pitches later to dig himself a hole. Pettitte earned a no-decision, and he was hooked in favor of Edwar Ramirez after he reached his pitch count midway through the second.
Grapefruit League records: Astros 4-6, Yankees 3-3.
Up next: The Yankees remain at Legends Field, where they'll face the Rays in a Saturday matchup at 1:15 p.m. ET. Right-hander Mike Mussina (0-0, 18.00 ERA) is scheduled to toe the bump for New York, and Tampa Bay will counter with righty Matt Garza (0-0, 10.80).
The Astros have a split-squad day on Saturday. Righty Felipe Paulino (0-0, 0.00) will lead Houston's charge at home against Washington at 12:05 p.m. CT. Southpaw Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, 8.31) and the remaining Astros will hit the road to take on the Braves at 12:05 p.m. at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Dawn Klemish is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.