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HOUSTON – Philip Humber and J.A. Happ each had a strong start and a shaky finish Wednesday. Both starting pitchers are looking forward to the regular season, too.
J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer and Brian Bogusevic added a solo shot for the Houston Astros, who played the White Sox to a 5-5 tie on Wednesday in the final exhibition game for both teams.
Humber pitched four scoreless innings before Jose Altuve’s run-scoring double and Martinez’s drive put Houston up 3-2 in the fifth. Humber allowed three runs and five hits with five strikeouts in five innings.
“Especially early on, I felt like I had my good stuff going and everything was working,” he said. “Toward the end, I felt like I was getting a little jumpy and I started rushing my delivery. But overall, I was very pleased with how this spring went.”
Happ gave up two runs and four hits while walking two in five innings for Houston.
Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza hit back-to-back doubles to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
“Things were moving and breaking and responding well, and that was a good feeling,” Happ said. “It’s a good sign, and it feels good to throw strikes and feel good with the pitches.”
The Sox’s Jared Mitchell hit a tying solo homer off Kyle Weiland in the seventh inning. Weiland, who earned a spot in Houston’s rotation this spring, allowed a spring-high seven hits with three runs in two innings.
Both teams are off today before opening the season Friday. Houston hosts the Colorado Rockies and the Sox face the Rangers in Arlington.
Alexei Ramirez had an RBI triple and Kosuke Fukudome singled in run to help the White Sox take a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning.
Houston catcher Jason Castro, who returned this spring after missing the entire 2011 season with a knee injury, had two hits. He is happy with his offensive work this spring, but was more excited about the progress he’s made behind the plate.
“We have a few new guys and I’ve been working on building those relationships with them,” he said of the new pitchers. “That was a big thing for me this spring was getting to know them and getting to know their strengths. I think we’ve learned each other quickly this spring and it’ll only get better as the season gets going.”
Bogusevic’s homer came in the sixth, and Chris Johnson doubled and scored on a wild pitch later in the inning.
Houston center fielder Jordan Schafer started for the second straight day after missing more than two weeks with a sprained left hand. Schafer, Houston’s leadoff hitter who hit .379 this spring, was replaced by a pinch hitter in the eighth and looks to be on track to start on Friday.
NOTES: The Astros finalized their 25-man roster when RHP Henry Sosa cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City and they purchased the contract of OF Travis Buck. ... The Astros are still hopeful that SS Jed Lowrie will be able to start on Friday. He has been out since March 28 with a strained right thumb, but manager Brad Mills said he has been feeling much better the last couple of days.