SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Halfway through spring training, Brett Wallace is proving he’s ready to become Houston’s everyday first baseman.
Wallace hit a grand slam and knocked in seven runs, leading the Astros to a 14-8 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.
He added two doubles and a single, and was joined by teammate Jason Bourgeois with four hits, powering Houston’s 17-hit attack. Bill Hall had a two-run homer during a three-run fourth when the Astros took the lead for good, and Brian Bogusevic and J.R. Towels also contributed two hits apiece.
The 24-year-old Wallace, looking to cement a starting spot at first, was drafted No. 13 overall by St. Louis in 2008 out of Arizona State. He has already been traded three times.
He touched up reliever Kevin Gregg for his grand slam in the fifth, and Bogusevic added a two-run double against Wynn Pelzer to cap a six-run inning. Wallace, batting .350 this spring, added an RBI double in the sixth and two-run double in the seventh.
“I can’t say enough about Wally today,” Houston manager Brad Mills said. “He really swung the bat well. He’s always been a hitter, and he’s always been able to make those adjustments. He came into camp swinging the bat very well.”
Bourgeois also helped his cause to become the Astros’ fifth outfielder, according to Mills.
“The thing he brings to the table is speed,” Mills said. “And he also has the ability to play second base, which is going to weigh big.”
Jake Fox gave the Orioles a brief lead with a solo home run in the second inning, his fifth this spring. Robert Andino added a two-run shot in a four-run Baltimore ninth.
Houston starter Aneury Rodriguez gave up Fox’s homer in two innings of work. Jordan Lyles worked two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Baltimore starter Brad Bergesen didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, when the Astros got to him for three runs on a sacrifice fly by Jason Michaels and Hall’s two-run homer. Bergesen struggled with his control, however, walking two and throwing only 26 strikes in 52 pitches.
“I made a couple adjustments these last few days with Goose (pitching coach Mark Connor) and I was just trying to work on those,” Bergesen said. “I was working more on my sinker. I was really actually happy with how I threw my sinker today. I got in a little jam and gave up the big hit, but overall, there was a lot of positives to take out of today.”
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter noted how Bergesen struggled with his command.
“He had one good inning,” Showalter said. “He got his work in, got his pitch count up a little bit. We’d like to see him be a little more sharp, but at this stage in spring training I’ll take pitch count and go from there.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)