Icing on cake: Springer comes up big on b-day

September 20th, 2017

Before he was blowing out candles for his 28th birthday on Tuesday, was blowing by a throw at the plate in a critical eighth inning in an eventual 3-1 Astros win, the club's fifth straight.

Initially ruled out, the play was overturned to give Springer the score, after he surged home on an infield dribbler by to White Sox third baseman . Holding almost patiently at third while Sanchez made the commitment to first, Springer had just a 10.8-foot secondary lead, according to Statcast™, and needed 5.76 seconds to get home, with a sprint speed of 27.8 feet per second.

Impressive with his speed and awareness, Springer understood that such aggressiveness, particularly with a headfirst slide, could be costly -- particularly with the postseason beginning in just two weeks.

"I told him I was proud of his hustle, and don't ever do that again until October," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't need to see that again. ... Excellent play in itself. I'd like him not to do that."

"[Hinch] told me to be smarter. I get it," Springer said. "But these games still count, and it's hard to not play hard. I'll just be smarter. I'll try not to do it again. Can't make any promises."

The Astros have already locked up the American League West -- their first division title since 2001 -- and they can secure their first 100-win season since 1998 if they go at least 8-4 the rest of the way. Following the Indians' historic 22-game winning streak, the Astros trail the Tribe by 1 1/2 games for the top record in the AL.

Springer might not have the green light to take such chances as Tuesday's for the rest of the regular season, but the stakes will be higher in just two weeks.