The offensive burst came long after the exit of both teams' starters. Marco Gonzales, looking to nudge his way into an Opening Day job in the Cardinals' rotation or bullpen, tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut. The lefty allowed one hit, walked one and threw 17 of his 30 pitches for strikes.
Astros lefty Brett Oberholtzer, who is trying to solidify his spot in the rotation, also made his first appearance of the spring. The Cardinals peppered him for four hits (all singles) and scored an unearned run in the second when Matt Carpenter beat out what would have been an inning-ending double play.
The Astros debuted two of their new offensive pieces on Friday, with Evan Gattis serving as the designated hitter and Colby Rasmus starting in left. It was also a homecoming for Rasmus, a former first-round pick of the Cardinals. He went 0-for-2.
Gattis delivered a leadoff double in the seventh, an inning in which Houston would score twice off Cardinals reliever Nick Greenwood. Top prospect Carlos Correa contributed an RBI single in that inning.
Mark Reynolds, who started at first base, finished 0-for-3 in his Cardinals debut. Jason Heyward swiped the team's first base of spring, taking third after singling and moving to second on a hit by Matt Holliday.
Up next for the Astros: All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, the 2015 American League batting champion, will make his Grapefruit League debut when the Astros face the Yankees at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Osceola County Stadium. Altuve, who led the Majors last year with a .341 batting average and a team-record 225 hits, will be joined in the lineup by newcomer Jed Lowrie, who's making his first appearance in an Astros' lineup since 2012. He played the previous two seasons in Oakland. Jason Castro will also make his spring debut behind the plate, catching left-hander Dallas Keuchel, a Gold Glove Award winner last year. Keuchel led the club in wins (12), innings (200), complete games (five) and quality starts (21) last year. Tune in to Gameday Audio to listen live.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.