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

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.