Springer 'enjoys moment,' ends no-no with HR

Outfielder first player in WS history to end no-hit bid in sixth or later with home run

October 29th, 2017

HOUSTON -- After striking out four times in his World Series debut, received some words of wisdom from .

"Just slow down and enjoy the moment."

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Springer has followed his veteran teammate's advice, and the results have shown. The Astros' center fielder belted his second home run in three games in Saturday night's Game 4 at Minute Maid Park, giving Houston an early one-run lead with two outs in the sixth after Alex Wood had held Houston hitless over the first 5 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers answered with a run in the seventh before erupting for five runs in the ninth, evening the best-of-seven World Series with a 6-2 win.

"He wants the moment," Astros catcher said of Springer. "He's a guy that wants to be great. You show up to the ballpark every day with the love of the game that he has. ... He's a five-tool player. He's one of the best players I've ever played with."

Wood fell behind Springer, 3-1, before serving up a curveball that Springer launched into the left-field seats. Springer's shot had an exit velocity of 100.1 mph and a 28-degree launch angle, traveling a projected 394 feet according to Statcast™.

Although the Astros hadn't recorded a hit until Springer's home run, it was the seventh ball they hit with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph. Given that the Majors hit .558 on such batted balls, it was only a matter of time before Wood paid the price.

"I think we had some quality at-bats against him," Springer said. "The stuff didn't fall today. That's the game. Sometimes you have to tip your cap and move on to tomorrow."

Springer's four-strikeout game started his World Series off in forgettable fashion, but he didn't let the performance negatively affect him going forward. In the past three games, he's 5-for-13 (.385) with a walk, two doubles, two homers and three RBIs, accumulating a team-high 13 total bases.

Springer now has 11 hard-hit balls (95-plus mph exit velocity) in the Series, which is by far the most. No other player has more than seven.

"It just kind of shows you that one game doesn't define you," Springer said. "In the baseball world, an out is an out; I don't really care how you do it. You can strike out four times or pop up to the pitcher four times; it's still 0-for-4. You just have to move on."

Springer's two-run homer in the 11th inning served as the difference-maker in the Game 2 classic, and for a brief moment Saturday, it appeared that his home run against Wood might do the same in Game 4.

Springer became the first player in World Series history to end a no-hit bid in the sixth inning or later with a home run. As happy as Springer and the Astros were, the most excited person at Minute Maid Park may have been Springer's sister, Lena, who tweeted, "THAT MOMENT YOUR BROTHER BREAKS UP A NO HITTER WITH A DINGER!!!!! #OKAYGEEG"

"That's one of the mistakes he left up over the plate," Springer said. "I was just able to hit it."

Springer credited Beltran's advice with helping him keep calm after his dubious debut, helping him put his bad night behind him and keep his focus at the plate.

"Just trying to slow myself down and be who I know I can be, have an understanding of what they might be trying to do," Springer said. "Just hit the ball hard."

Manager A.J. Hinch noted that Springer's demeanor doesn't change from day to day, his upbeat approach on and off the field helping him keep things in perspective.

"He's just been very disciplined in the strike zone, getting pitches to hit and doing a really good job of calming himself down and actually not trying to do too much," Hinch said. "He's doing more by just letting the game come to him a little bit. I think success often relaxes guys, and you track the ball a little bit longer and you hit the ball to all fields. And he can do damage any given at-bat."

Up next for the Astros? , who accounted for three of Springer's four Game 1 strikeouts -- and 11 overall -- while holding Houston to one run on three hits over seven superb innings.

"I broke the ice; I got to see him for the first time," Springer said. "He's the top of 1 percent. I'm not saying it's going to be easier or harder. He's a good pitcher, so I'm just going to have to battle him."

Did Springer learn anything from his Game 1 experience that could help him against Kershaw the second time around?

"Yeah," Springer said. "But I can't tell you."