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3/1/2013 4:06 P.M. ET

Descalso, Kozma lead way in slugfest with Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Daniel Descalso's two-run single in the second inning and Pete Kozma's two-run double in the fifth inning paced the Cardinals in an 8-8 tie with the Astros on Friday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly, making his first start of the spring, threw two scoreless innings and walked a pair of batters in his first audition for a spot in the starting rotation.

"It was good to get out there," Kelly said. "I felt good. Arm felt great. Body felt great. I'm not too happy about my walks. I felt maybe just a tad bit rusty."

Astros starter Bud Norris had a pair of perfect innings in his three innings of work, giving up a two-run single to Descalso in the second that gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. He threw 31 of his 48 pitches for strikes.

Brandon Barnes led off the third with a homer for the Astros -- his second of the spring -- and Carlos Corporan's RBI single tied the game in the fourth. The Cardinals scored three times in the fifth against Xavier Cedeno, including two RBIs by Kozma and one by Oscar Taveras.

Chris Carter blasted his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot in the fifth, to get the Astros to within a run, 5-4. A three-run shot off the bat of Adron Chambers in the sixth seemingly put the game out of reach until the Astros rallied late.

Up next: A day after Kelly made his pitch for the final spot in the Cardinals' rotation, Shelby Miller will get his first opportunity to try and impress when the Cardinals host the Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. Miller, who was slowed by right shoulder tightness earlier in camp, will be the second St. Louis pitcher to take the mound in the game. Adam Wainwright will make the second of his six scheduled spring starts.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.