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Springer in their step: Astros walk off in 11th

June 1, 2016

HOUSTON -- George Springer hit a walk-off, two-out home run in the 11th inning off Tyler Clippard, sending the Astros past the D-backs, 5-4, on Wednesday night, for their fifth straight win, and their eighth in the last nine games.Springer's 13th home run of the season was his first career

HOUSTON -- George Springer hit a walk-off, two-out home run in the 11th inning off Tyler Clippard, sending the Astros past the D-backs, 5-4, on Wednesday night, for their fifth straight win, and their eighth in the last nine games.
Springer's 13th home run of the season was his first career walk-off home run.
"I knew that I had hit it well," said Springer, whose game-winner gave Astros manager A.J. Hinch his 200th career victory.
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"It was an emotional win after a punch in the gut," Hinch said.
Jake Lamb hit a game-tying two-run home run, part of Arizona's three-run ninth inning, off closer Luke Gregerson. Earlier in the inning, Michael Bourn doubled in a run.
"It was a great baseball game," Arizona manager Chip Hale said. "They just had a bit more firepower and got us in the end. … I can't be more proud of our guys' effort coming back in that game."
In the Houston ninth, Carlos Correa, who just missed a home run in center field for a triple, was stranded at third when Evan Gattis flew out to center.
Gattis hit a two-run home run in the Houston fifth, a 421-foot shot off Robbie Ray that broke a 1-1 tie. The Astros had tied the game in the fifth on Correa's single to right field that scored Jose Altuve from second base. Altuve collected two doubles and a walk, giving him his 900th and 901st career hits.
The Astros have now won three straight against the D-backs to climb out of last place in the American League West.
Bourn to run: Given that he's played 292 career games in the park, Bourn might know the cavernous center-field regions of Minute Maid Park better than anyone. He showed off that knowledge again, robbing Marwin Gonzalez's 411-foot shot on a leaping catch just beside Tal's Hill in the second inning. Bourn was a triples machine and had some memorable catches in center during his three-plus seasons with the Astros, and the Houston native again added a highlight reel in his hometown park. He also sparked the ninth-inning comeback with an RBI double, finishing the game 1-for-4 with a walk.
"It felt comfortable to me," Bourn said. "I've got some experience out there and took some balls out there in [batting practice] just to get used to it again. … I knew that [wall] was coming up on me so I went after it." More >

Outfield tracking: Center fielder Carlos Gomez and left fielder Jake Marisnick made outstanding catches in the third inning that limited the D-backs to a single run. Gomez ran up against the wall on a leaping grab to rob Bourn of extra bases in left-center. Gomez tracked the ball down in front of the D-backs' bullpen with runners at first and second. One batter after Gomez's catch, Marisnick made a diving catch of a ball hit by Paul Goldschmidt to end the inning, saving a run. Gomez also had a first-inning assist, and right fielder Springer had an outfield assist in the seventh, throwing out Rickie Weeks Jr. at second.
"We were feeding off each other and having fun. We can all go get it. It's a fun group to play with and nothing they do surprises me," Marisnick said. More 

Ray unravels: It was all going according to plan for Ray well into the fifth inning. After the Astros had knocked around D-backs starters early in Arizona, he was going deep into the game and sparing the bullpen, while tossing a shutout. It came apart quickly in that fifth inning, as two quick outs gave way to four straight hits and three runs, including Gattis' go-ahead shot. Ray's night was done after the fifth, and he has reached the sixth inning in just two of his past eight starts.
"It's just throwing too many pitches," Ray said. "Tonight, I wasn't really walking anybody, but I started falling behind, so they started being a little more patient on my offspeed stuff, and I wasn't able to consistently get it over for strikes."

Gattis excels: Gattis had an impact at the plate and behind the dish. Gattis' two-run home run in the fifth broke a 1-1 tie. In making his fifth start at catcher this season, Gattis threw out two potential basestealers, including Yasmany Tomas on the back end of a double play to end the Arizona fifth. In the first inning, Gattis threw out Jean Segura, who led off with a walk, attempting to steal second base. In his last three starts Gattis has thrown out four of five runners attempting to steal. The Astros are 4-1 in his five starts at catcher.
"Progress is always good," Gattis said. "Play every day and you come to the park to win the game, but … I don't even know our record, but we still have high expectations but keeping it rolling is going to be key." More >

"It's a down-and-away changeup and there's probably now two people in the game who could hit that: Vladimir Guerrero and him. That ball doesn't get hit, so you just tip your cap on a pitcher's pitch. … He just really flicked his wrist on it and it went out." -- Ray, on Gattis' golfed home run
"We've played well for a month and half now. This isn't something new." -- Hinch on the team's five-game winning streak
With 457 hits at Minute Maid Park, Altuve has tied Jeff Bagwell for the fourth-most hits at the Astros' home park that opened in 2000. Lance Berkman leads with 849 hits, followed by Craig Biggio (666) and Carlos Lee (481).
The Astros are now 19-4 against National League West opponents since the start of the 2015 season.
D-backs:Zack Greinke gets the ball for Arizona at 11:10 a.m. MST in Minute Maid Park, as the teams wrap up their four-game, home-and-home set. Greinke has been better of late, posting a 3.60 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in his last six starts, and Arizona has won four of those six outings.
Astros: In the marquee pitching matchup, Dallas Keuchel opposes Greinke. Keuchel got back the crispness on his pitches in his last outing, a 4-2 road win over the Angels in which the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner allowed only two runs and three hits in seven innings. Keuchel last faced the D-backs last Oct. 2 in Houston's 21-5 win at Chase Field.
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Chris Abshire is a contributor to based in Houston. He covered the D-backs on Wednesday.

Richard Dean is a contributor to based in Houston.