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Astros' Scott Feldman impressive in first start

By Victoria Advocate
March 1, 2014 at 8:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2014 at 9:01 p.m.

Oakland Athletics catcher Chris Gimenez, front, holds on to the ball after tagging out Texas Rangers' Alex Castellanos, left, who was caught stealing home, as Jose Felix, above right, looks on during the eighth inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 1, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Scott Feldman pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring start for Houston, allowing only one hit in the Astros' 5-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

Austin Jackson had two hits for Detroit, which scored its five runs in the fourth inning.

Feldman signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Astros in the offseason, and Houston hopes the 31-year-old right-hander can provide stability at the top of the rotation. Feldman went 12-12 with a 3.86 ERA last year while splitting time between the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles.

"He was Scott Feldman. He's going to attack the strike zone; he's going to throw all his pitches in any count," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Just a professional, the way he goes about his business, and it was good to see."

Feldman allowed a walk to Miguel Cabrera and a single to Jackson.

"Right now, I think the pitchers are probably a little ahead of the hitters, and all that stuff catches up," Feldman said. "Hopefully, by the end of spring, I'll be able to hit my spots."

Cabrera's single started Detroit's fourth-inning rally, which also included a two-run double by Don Kelly.

Starting time

Tigers: Left-hander Kyle Lobstein was only supposed to pitch two innings, but he breezed through them with such ease manager Brad Ausmus let him pitch one more. A third-inning walk was the only baserunner Lobstein allowed. Barring injury, there's no room for him in Detroit's rotation, but he made a strong impression.

"He's in that mix of guys that could fill in," Ausmus said. "He's got good mound presence. He doesn't look like he's nervous out there, he doesn't look intimidated."

Astros: Feldman pitched fine, but it was a rough day for another potential starter. Brad Peacock pitched a hitless third before allowing five runs without retiring a batter in the fourth.

Big inning

Jackson has been Detroit's leadoff hitter during the Tigers' run of three straight AL Central titles, but he may end up elsewhere in the lineup this season after Detroit acquired Ian Kinsler in a trade and signed speedy outfielder Rajai Davis.

Jackson hit sixth Saturday, and he came up with the bases loaded in the fourth after singles by Cabrera and Victor Martinez and a walk by Alex Avila. Jackson's single to center opened the scoring, and Kelly followed with his double to make it 3-0.

"You have to make the adjustment," Jackson said. "Leadoff, there's a different approach. Your job I think is to make sure you're doing whatever you can to get on base. Down the lineup, you have more opportunities to hit with runners on."

Rangers 2, Athletics 2

PHOENIX - Oakland designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes drove in a run with a sacrifice fly against Martin Perez as the Athletics and Texas Rangers played to a 2-all tie Saturday. The game was stopped after nine innings.

Billy Burns, who replaced Coco Crisp in the starting lineup just before game time, had two hits, stole two bases and recorded a pair of outfield assists for the A's. He also scored both runs, tying the game on an infield error.

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