Boosted by bats, Happ breezes vs. Marlins

Boosted by bats, Happ breezes vs. Marlins

JUPITER, Fla. -- J.B. Shuck homered in a five-run second inning, J.A. Happ cruised through five innings and the Astros beat the Marlins, 9-2, on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium.

Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, making his second Grapefruit League start, surrendered seven runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings. Projected as Florida's No. 2 starter, Nolasco is looking to regain his command after missing half of Spring Training because of a sprained right thumb.

Boosted by early run support, Happ breezed through five innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits. He walked four and got his pitch count up to 89.

By the fourth inning, every starter in the Astros' lineup had at least one hit.

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Shuck opened the second with his first Spring Training homer, a drive to right field. Three consecutive singles produced another run, and Michael Bourn delivered a two-run double.

The Astros had struck in the first inning for a run off Nolasco. With one out, Clint Barmes singled, and Hunter Pence laced an RBI double to left-center.

Nolasco's afternoon concluded in the third inning, as he was lifted after 2 1/3 innings and 68 pitches, with 42 strikes. He was charged with a run in the third that scored on Anderson Hernandez's fielder's-choice grounder off Frank Mata.

Greg Dobbs, who is competing for role as a left-handed bat off the bench, put the Marlins on the board in the third inning with an RBI single off Happ. The run was unearned after Gaby Sanchez reached on an error.

The Astros added a run in the fourth off Elih Villanueva, who surrendered his first run after nine consecutive scoreless innings in the spring.

Up next for Astros: Bud Norris, the probable No. 4 starter, will take the mound on Saturday when the Astros face the split-squad Cardinals at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla., at 12:05 p.m. CT. Lance Lynn will start for St. Louis. Bill Hall will be back in the lineup, and Carlos Lee is expected to play.

Up next for Marlins: After being scratched from his last start because of mild soreness in his right elbow, Javier Vazquez will return to the rotation on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Cardinals, who have a split-squad day, will go with Kyle Lohse.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.