3/12/2013 4:15 P.M. ET
Kouzmanoff blasts third homer of Spring Training
Solano ups batting average to .500, but Astros hit four homers off Nolasco
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Astros hit four homers in the first three innings off Marlins ace Ricky Nolasco, and five total, and cruised to a 9-4 win on Tuesday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.
Nolasco, the Marlins' Opening Day starter, faced 14 hitters in the first two innings. He allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks in three innings. He threw 68 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Nolasco gave up three runs in the first on a Carlos Pena two-run homer that carried over the right-field fence and a Brett Wallace solo shot to center on the very next pitch.
It didn't get any better in the second for Nolasco, as third baseman Matt Dominguez crushed the first pitch he saw to left for a two-run homer to give the Astros a 5-0 lead. Chris Carter had an RBI fielder's choice to make 6-0.
Jason Castro's solo shot in the third made it 7-0.
Astros starter Bud Norris ran into similar trouble in the third. He gave up two singles to lead off the inning before Chone Figgins' RBI groundout. Donovan Solano followed with an RBI double, and two batters later, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run home run straightaway center field as the Marlins closed the gap to 7-4.
It was Kouzmanoff's third home run of the spring, and he added a double in the ninth to improve his spring batting average to .400. Solano also continued his red-hot spring, going 2-for-3 with a single and the double, to raise his average to .500 in Grapefruit League play.
The Astros' home run barrage continued even when Nolasco departed, as Carter went yard to lead off the fourth against Mitch Talbot to make it 8-4. They added a run in the sixth on Wallace's RBI double to left.
Up next: The Marlins will go under the lights on Wednesday, as they play host to the Braves in a 7:05 p.m. ET game at Roger Dean Stadium. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will face off against Atlanta's Kris Medlen. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Florida, which can also be seen live on MLB.TV.