Astros 9, RedHawks 6Matt Downs hit a three-run homer in the seventh to lift Houston to a 9-6 win over the RedHawks in front of 5,755 at RedHawks Field at Bricktown on Tuesday. The Astros trailed 6-3 before tying it in the sixth after starting with back-to-back triples by J.B. Shuck and Jason Bourgeois. Astros manager Brad Mills expected to play his starters for half the game or more, however all but designated hitter Joe Inglett and catcher Humberto Quintero left the game midway through the third. Houston went through its lineup twice in the first three innings. Angel Sanchez, still battling for the Astros starting shortstop spot, was 2 for 2.
HAPP INJURES OBLIQUEAstros starter J.A. Happ was warming up in the third when he felt something in his right side. Happ made it through the inning, retiring the side in order before leaving the game before the fifth with a strained right oblique. The injury throws into question whether Happ will be able to make his first scheduled start Sunday in Philadelphia. “I’m sort of delirious with frustration right now,” Happ said. Happ went 6-4 with a 3.40 ERA last season, splitting time between Philadelphia and Houston. He was acquired in the deal that sent Roy Oswalt to the Phillies. “My goal is still to start Sunday but my body, it’ll tell me,” Happ said.
PLAYERS SHAKE OFF THE COLDComing from Florida, where the weather was nearly perfect throughout spring training, to Oklahoma City was a bit of a shock to the players. “It’s definitely the first time we’ve had to deal with that this year,” Astros first baseman Brett Wallace said of the cold temperatures. It was 49 degrees to start the game and cooled off even more as the night went on. Wallace said it was probably a good thing the Astros experienced some cool weather.
ARNSBERG GLAD TO BE BACKBrad Arnsberg played for the 89ers for three years from 1989-91 and coached with the RedHawks for one year under Greg Biagini. Tuesday night, he was back as the Astros pitching coach. “It’s awesome to be back,” Arnsberg said. “I love this city. I always loved Oklahoma City, the whole state, and the old ballpark.” Arnsberg also coached in Tulsa before breaking through to the majors with Montreal in mid-2000. Arnsberg was a coach on Florida’s 2003 World Series champion team. “I have a lot of fond memories of Oklahoma City both playing and coaching,” Arnsberg said.
LYLES GETS OPENING-DAY NODAstros prospect Jordan Lyles, who battled for the fifth starter spot with Houston, was not in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. “He stayed behind (in Florida) to get some more work in,” RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco said. “He’s going to be our opening-day starter, though.” Mills was impressed with what he saw in camp from Lyles. “He threw the ball extremely well,” Mills said. “There’s no doubt that people are going to enjoy watching him pitch here and pretty soon people are going to enjoy watching him pitch in Houston.” The RedHawks open the season April 7 in Memphis.
SHORT HOPSThe RedHawks will take today off before resuming workouts Thursday. ... The game marked the debut of a 185-foot LED board in left field and the ad-covered tarps in the upper deck on the right-field side. ... Koby Clemens, the son of Roger Clemens, came on in the fourth and finished 1 for 2 with an RBI for the Astros. Clemens is likely to start the season with the RedHawks. ... Astros catcher J.R. Towles did not play but did take batting practice. Towles has missed time lately with back spasms. Mills said he hoped Towles could play in tonight’s exhibition game in Houston against the Red Sox. BY RYAN ABER
Astros 9, RedHawks 6