ATLANTA -- He's not your prototypical leadoff hitter, and that's what makes George Springer so dangerous. The All-Star outfielder can beat you in so many ways with his bat, something the Braves found out when he went 7-for-10 with six runs scored in the Astros' two games at SunTrust Park.Springer
ATLANTA -- He's not your prototypical leadoff hitter, and that's what makes George Springer so dangerous. The All-Star outfielder can beat you in so many ways with his bat, something the Braves found out when he went 7-for-10 with six runs scored in the Astros' two games at SunTrust Park.
Springer went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, two RBIs and stole his first two bases of the season in Houston's 10-4 win on Wednesday, raising his season batting average to .300 for the first time since the first week of the season.
"I'm not trying to do too much," Springer said. "I understand who's up behind me."
Indeed. Jose Altuve, who batted second in the Braves series, went 6-for-10 in the two games, and Josh Reddick, who batted third, went 5-for-11. Springer hit .529 (9-for-17) with seven runs scored in four games against Atlanta this year.
Since May 26, Springer is hitting .377 with a .444 on-base percentage, a .775 slugging percentage, 16 homers and 31 RBIs in 36 games. Six of his hits in the Braves series came with two strikes.
"This is as good as I've seen George swing the bat in my time with him," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Not just the home runs; everybody looks at power. They look at doubles, they look at homers. These two-strike base hits are exactly what he needs to do to take his offense to the next level. They're not easy pitches. They're not all just perfect pitches to hit. He's taking whatever the pitcher gives him. He's got to be as dangerous a hitter as anybody in the league right now."
Springer will start his first All-Star Game Tuesday, along with teammates Altuve (second base) and Carlos Correa (shortstop). Altuve, who's making his third start in the Midsummer Classic, says Springer is getting better every day.
"It doesn't matter how good he already is, he's going to come up with something new that's going to let you know he's getting better," Altuve said. "That's what I love about him. He's a great teammate. It doesn't matter how good he's playing. … He always does something for you and for the team and is one of my favorite players in the league. He's a superstar, and this is why he's going to the All-Star Game."
As for the steals, Hinch put the brakes on him for most of the year, but Springer stole third base in the fifth inning on a double steal and swiped second in the seventh. He stole 45 bases in the Minors in 2013, but had only 30 in 342 big league games entering this year.
"He's off probation," Hinch joked. "He's going to steal a little bit. He got some good jumps and did a really good job."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.