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Springer heating up, goes 5-for-5 vs. Sox

CHICAGO -- Right fielder George Springer is perhaps the only player who's heating up during the Astros' season-high seven-game losing streak, during which Houston has scored only 16 runs (2.3 per game) on 46 hits.

Springer had five of the Astros' seven hits in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, going 5-for-5 -- all singles -- in the leadoff spot to raise his average to .254 from .235. He's the first Astros player to have five hits in a game since Brandon Barnes hit for the cycle on July 19, 2013.

"I'm just trying to slow things down and get to first base for the guys up behind me," Springer said. "I was able to get to first base tonight, and hopefully it continues."

The hits are nice, but they're hardly a consolation for a team that's struggling.

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"I'd rather win," Springer said. "We hit some balls hard again that got caught, and [Preston] Tucker with the [potential] home run that got robbed [in the seventh]. It happened, so we've got to go out and keep playing hard and grinding out these games."

Springer's first hit was a blooper to right field to start the game, but the remaining four were hard-hit line drives to center and right field. He's hitting .300 while batting in the leadoff spot, and has reached base in 15 of his 16 starts while hitting first.

"He's a good hitter," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think his pitch recognition has been good, and he's toned down a little bit of the violence out of his swing. Whether that's being in the leadoff spot or him just continuing to mature, he's just a very, very good hitter, and obviously tonight he had a great night, individually."

The three hitters in the order immediately following Springer -- Jose Altuve, Tucker and Evan Gattis -- went a combined 0-for-13 on Wednesday. Altuve's average has dropped to .289, but Springer hasn't lost faith.

"I understand my role, and I'm hitting with arguably one of the best hitters in the game right now [hitting behind me]," he said. "If I get on base for him, it will make our offense go."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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