Springer, Gurriel power Astros; Hughes struggles

March 22nd, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- and blasted first-inning homers, and allowed two runs and five hits in five innings to lead the Astros to an 8-4 win over the Twins on Wednesday afternoon at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

Springer crushed the first pitch of the game thrown by Twins starter Phil Hughes and launched it over the wall in right field for his first homer of the spring. Gurriel followed one-out singles by and later in the inning with a three-run blast to make it 4-0.

Keuchel, who's likely to start for the Astros on Opening Day, gave up two runs in a lengthy third inning, but breezed through the fourth and fifth on the strength of six ground ball outs. He threw 44 of his 71 pitches for strikes.

"I'd like to be more efficient with my pitches, but at the same time if I'm able to get in hitter's counts and get some ground balls and get ahead and get some weak contact, I'm right there," said Keuchel, who battled a shoulder issue last year and was shut down in the final month with shoulder inflammation.

"We'll clean up a few minor details, but at the same time it's good to see the body feel good enough to go five innings and 70-plus pitches."

and Matt Hague supplied most of the offense for Minnesota, as the Twins No. 9 hitter got his team on the board with a run-scoring double in the third inning. Hague raised his spring average to .452, going 2-for-2 with an RBI single. Backup infielder knocked him in on a groundball single in the sixth. 

Hughes, who threw five scoreless innings in his previous spring start, lasted only two innings, giving up six runs (five earned) and nine hits. Springer and Altuve (2-for-2 with a walk) had RBI hits in the second to push the Houston lead to 6-0.

Twins Up Next: Right-hander gets the start for the Twins Thursday when they travel to Clearwater to play the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET, in a game available on MLB.TV. Right-handers Nick Tepesch, and J.T. Chargois are also scheduled to pitch for the Twins.

Astros Up Next: The Astros will take their final off day of the spring Thursday before sending Charlie Morton to the mound in Friday's 12:10 p.m. CT game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on MLB.TV. Third baseman , who's been away from camp for three weeks to be with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, will return to the lineup.

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