Fair to say that Springer's blast keys victory
HOUSTON -- As far back as he can remember, Astros outfielder George Springer has never hit a foul pole.
Until Tuesday night.
Springer clanked a two-run home run off the left-field pole and into the Crawford Boxes off Royals starter Danny Duffy, giving Houston ace Dallas Keuchel all the support he needed in a 4-0 win at Minute Maid Park.
"About halfway up, I thought it was going to hook," Springer said. "I was just looking to kind of extend the inning. Put it in play and hit something hard. I was able to get the head of the bat on it and somehow, some way it stayed fair. I'll take it."
The homer snapped an 0-for-8 skid for Springer, who had just two hits in his previous 29 at-bats before the blast. He added a walk in the fifth and came blazing around to score from first on Jose Altuve's RBI double.
Though his offense has been streaky, Springer's glove has remained nearly perfect. Since Colby Rasmus is sidelined with an infected bug bite, Springer has slid over to center field and made highlight-reel catches in consecutive games.
Springer laid out full extension on Monday to save extra bases and on Tuesday he misjudged Omar Infante's blooper, leading to a roundabout route for the third out of the seventh.
"It had a lot more backspin than I thought," Springer said. "I originally started off my angle and realized he hit it a lot harder than it was, and I had to go back."
"I told him he couldn't create his own degree of difficulty with the route in center field," manager A.J. Hinch joked after the game. "He makes such a great play coming in all the time and some dives are involved. He goes full throttle all the time. He had that and then the ball took off on him a little bit with Infante. Again, nothing surprises me with him out there."
Springer's first dented foul pole gave fans another reason to cheer. As part of an Astros promotion, when a Houston player hits the pole on a home run, everyone with a ticket to that night's game can get a free Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich in Houston when they present the ticket.
Springer knows that fate all too well.
"I do know that because Marwin [Gonzalez] hit the pole twice last year," Springer said. "I'll definitely head over there tomorrow."