It's funny how a slumping hitter can enter a ballgame trying not to over-swing and then hit two home runs.
"Yeah, very funny," said George Springer.
The third-ranked Astros prospect reached base safely five times and supplied the eventual game-winning blast in his Mesa Solar Sox's 7-5 victory over the Salt River Rafters on Friday.
Batting fifth and playing his usual center field, Springer led off the Solar Sox's four-run second inning with a solo home run off starter Cory Riordan (Rockies). He jumped on a first-pitch fastball, staying true to his look-for-something-out-over-the-plate approach.
"I didn't want to let him get ahead of me because he is an extremely talented guy that can put you away with something," Springer said of Riordan.
Springer also didn't wait around five frames later. After taking a first-pitch changeup for a ball, he got another ready-made fastball, lifting a two-run longball against reliever Isaiah Froneberger (Rockies) that broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh.
"I have been hitting the ball hard, and it hasn't been falling [for hits] and it just did today," said Springer, who entered play 0-for-his-last-12 in the box. "I was working on staying short and not trying to over-swing. I'm not necessarily trying to hit home runs."
The 2011 first-round draftee now has three longballs and 11 RBIs in 17 Fall League games. Springer, who last went deep on Oct. 12, Day 4 of AFL action, also hiked his overall batting average to .264. He singled, drew two walks and stole a base to complete his perfect day at the plate against what he has called a noticeably higher level of competition.
"I have done OK. I have just wanted to improve and get some good at-bats, squaring the ball up," said Springer, who recorded two multi-homer games, including a three-homer effort, at Class A Advanced Astros affiliate Lancaster this past season. "I'm not trying to be somebody I'm not. I have learned a lot about my swing this Fall League, and I'll take it into next season and start fresh."
Like Springer, Rafters center fielder Jake Marisnick recorded a game-high three base knocks. The Blue Jays' No. 2 prospect tripled and singled twice, collecting two RBIs and raising his overall AFL average to .302.
Another top Astros prospect, right-handed starter Jarred Cosart, gave up three runs on four hits, including Marisnick's run-scoring three-bagger in the third, but struck out six batters over four innings.
"His results might not say it," Springer said of Cosart (0-2, 7.20 ERA), "but he's done well here. I'd probably say he has opened up some eyes here."
Riordan yielded four runs on six hits and left after two innings.
The last-place Solar Sox (9-16) have won three straight games, matching their longest winning streak of the season.
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com and writes the Prospective Blog. Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB.