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Springer torments Hamels again, homers twice

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels might have some nightmares about facing Astros outfielder George Springer.

Springer, who homered off Hamels on Opening Day, cranked two more homers off the veteran lefty in Friday's 3-2 win over the Rangers at Minute Maid Park for his eighth career multi-homer game. All three homers the World Series Most Valuable Player has hit this season have been off Hamels, who already has allowed seven homers this year.

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HOUSTON -- Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels might have some nightmares about facing Astros outfielder George Springer.

Springer, who homered off Hamels on Opening Day, cranked two more homers off the veteran lefty in Friday's 3-2 win over the Rangers at Minute Maid Park for his eighth career multi-homer game. All three homers the World Series Most Valuable Player has hit this season have been off Hamels, who already has allowed seven homers this year.

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"Springer is planning whatever type of season, but it's not going to be a good one if he's planning on hitting his only home runs off me," said Hamels. "I'm only going to face him a certain amount of games."

Springer crushed the first pitch Hamels threw and sent it 400 feet over the right-field wall, with an exit velocity of 103.8 mph. Springer grounded out in the third, but led off the fifth with another opposite-field homer. This one travel 387 feet with an exit velocity of 98.2 mph.

"The first pitch of the game is always a dilemma, the first at-bat of the game is always a dilemma for the pitcher when Springer is leading off," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "There's that ambush and tone-setting at-bat. He made a late decision, and the ball carries to the stands. Crazy good athlete."

Coming into the game, Springer was a career 2-for-17 hitter against Hamels with one homer. He was in a 1-for-13 funk before leading off the game with a homer for the 20th time in his career.

"This is a time where an average can go up or down by 80 points in a game, and you can't really just stay focused on the scoreboard," he said. "You have to go and try to have a quality at-bat, hit the ball hard, and whatever happens happens."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, George Springer