BRADENTON, Fla. – Jose Tabata made strides toward regaining his starting right fielder's job, keying a five-run second inning Sunday with a two-run double and helping the Pittsburgh Pirates build a big lead before holding on for an 8-6 victory over the Houston Astros.
Tabata lost his starting job last season when he hit just .243 with three home runs in 103 games. He is competing with Travis Snider and Jerry Sands for a lineup spot this spring.
John Ely, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in an offseason trade, started for Houston and was tagged for five runs — three earned — in 1 2-3 innings.
Brett Wallace hit a three-run double for Houston, which had won three straight. Pittsburgh ended a six-game skid.