Tucker's Triple Tags Redbirds, 4-2
Verlander K's Eight Over Five Innings

JV: Mastering spring batters
(c) Associated Press
Kyle Tucker's bases-loaded triple in the seventh keyed Houston's 4-2 Friday night victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at West Palm Beach, running their Grapefruit League record to 11-5-1. The Astros had dropped behind, 2-0, before Houston exploded for four runs against John Brebbia.

Justin Verlander became the first Astros starter to work five innings this year, allowing a solo homer to Paul DeJong before settling in and striking out eight. Verlander's spring ERA is now 0.90.

Ken Giles, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski finished off the four-hitter. Peacock took the win to advance to 3-0.

The starting pitching has been dazzling this spring and the kids on the fringe of making the roster are continuing to impress. Tucker's average is now .407 and his 13 RBIs lead the club. J.D. Davis is batting .379 while displaying his versatility in the field. A.J. Reed has caught fire and raised his average to .276.

In other news, Rule V claim lefthander Anthony Gose was offered back to the Texas Rangers who accepted him back. The former outfielder, who was once acquired from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt trade then flipped to the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace, features a near-100 mph fastball, a sharp breaking curve and an inability to hit the target.

Also, it has been announced that the Astros will visit the White House on Monday as guests of President Trump to celebrate their 2017 Worlds Championship. Given the current political climate, expect any boycotts or words of disparagement to be highlighted by the media. Retired slugger Carlos Beltran had already said he would not attend although politics was not his stated reason. Wouldn't it be nice if the Rockets were to follow this up with their own White House visit this summer?

Before that trip to D.C., the Astros will challenge the Washington Nationals at West Palm then battle the Mets on Sunday at Port St. Lucie.

- Bob Hulsey