Sports

Mark Appel makes 1st spring training start, pitches Astros to 6-1 win over Veracruz

  • Houston Astros' Mark Appel throws in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz on Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

    Houston Astros' Mark Appel throws in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz on Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)  (The Associated Press)

  • Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz's Manuel Flores pitches in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against the Houston Astros on Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

    Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz's Manuel Flores pitches in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against the Houston Astros on Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)  (The Associated Press)

  • Houston's Mark Appel throws in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz on Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

    Houston's Mark Appel throws in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz on Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)  (The Associated Press)

Mark Appel, the top pick in last year's draft, pitched three scoreless innings in his first spring training start to help the Houston Astros beat Mexican League team Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz 6-1 on Sunday in their exhibition finale.

It was the Minute Maid Park debut for Appel, who lived in Houston until he was 12 and grew up attending Astros games. He had been slowed this spring after an appendectomy in January and made his first major league appearance Wednesday against the Mets, picking up the win by striking out two in one shutout inning of relief.

Appel fanned three with no walks against Veracruz. He threw a perfect first inning before a single to start the second, but got out of the inning with the help of a double play.

The right-hander from Stanford gave up a leadoff double in the third, then retired his next three batters with two strikeouts.