KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Jonathan Sanchez pitched three strong innings and Garrett Jones and Ivan DeJesus Jr. each had two hits in the Pittsburgh Pirates' 3-2 exhibition victory against the Houston Astros on Friday.
Sanchez, the left-hander trying to earn a spot in the Pirates' rotation, gave up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve in the first inning, then retired nine in a row. The 30-year-old Sanchez is pitching on a minor league contract less than 2 1/2 years after starting a World Series game for San Francisco. By March 24, he can opt out of his contact and try to hook on with another team.
"I've been in the big leagues for seven years, and I'd rather be in a rotation," Sanchez said. "I'll have to make the decision that day. I don't know what to say right now. I'm just thinking about my next start and trying to do the same things I did today."
It was the second start of the spring for Sanchez, 1-9 in 15 starts last season for Kansas City and Colorado.
"I felt great out there. I felt like old times," he said. "It's spring training. We have to make adjustments, but I'm getting there. When we got here I started trying new mechanics. It didn't work out. I went back to my old mechanics, and I feel a lot better now. It doesn't matter how you throw the ball. You just have to throw strikes." Sanchez will get only one more start before he has to make his decision.
"I see a lot of good arms here, a lot of hard throwers. It's their decisions, whatever they want to do. I guess they're going to talk to me first (about) whatever they want to do."
Tyler Greene's single in the fifth off Jeanmar Gomez was Houston's only other hit until Jose Martinez drove in two runs with a two-out single in the ninth.
Houston starter Brad Peacock gave up one run on four hits in five innings.
Hits by Pedro Alvarez, Jones and DeJesus gave the Pirates a run in the second inning and tagged Peacock with the loss. But he gave up only four hits and struck out four.