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Springer in fast lane with inside-the-park HR

Correa and Diaz also went deep as Astros scored early and often
May 15, 2019

DETROIT -- One part of George Springer’s inside-the-park home run during Tuesday’s fifth inning was the fastball he ripped 421 feet to the right-center-field alley in Comerica Park. The other part was the the co-American League Player of the Week’s blazing speed around the bases. Springer’s line drive — hit

DETROIT -- One part of George Springer’s inside-the-park home run during Tuesday’s fifth inning was the fastball he ripped 421 feet to the right-center-field alley in Comerica Park.

The other part was the the co-American League Player of the Week’s blazing speed around the bases. Springer’s line drive — hit with an exit velocity of 107 mph, per Statcast — ricocheted off the corner of the scoreboard in the deepest park of the Tigers’ home field. After the funky bounce, center fielder JaCoby Jones had no shot to throw out Springer, who had already crossed the plate with a head-first slide by the time the ball was cut off near second base.

“It’s one of those things where I’m just kind of busting hard out of the [batter’s] box, just in case.” Springer said. “I’m not trying to hit an inside-the-park home run right there. I’m just trying to get to second. … I got a pretty fortunate bounce off the bottom of the wall and I’ll take it.”

Springer was winded, but he was all smiles as he popped up after the slide. An inside-the-park homer was just the latest way the Astros have kept their offense clicking as they routed the Tigers, 11-4.

Box score

The win marks the seventh in a row and nine in the last 10 games for the Astros (28-15). The Tigers (18-22) have lost two straight.

“At the end of the day, we got our ass kicked, however you want to look at,” Tigers right fielder Nicholas Castellanos said. “We could've done everything better. We could've pitched better. We could've hit better. We could've played defense better. We should've done everything better. But we didn't.”

With three home runs Tuesday, the Astros briefly passed the Mariners for the most in the Majors -- Seattle took back the top spot in their game against the A's -- and set a franchise record with the most over an 11-game span, with 33 from May 4-14 (previous best: 28, which Astros teams accomplished in 2000, 2004 and 2017).

“It just keeps building on our confidence,” said Carlos Correa, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, four RBIs, a home run and a triple. “We know what type of lineup we have. We’re confident in each other, we’re not selfish. We want to take the walk if we have to take the walk so the next guy behind us can do the job. And I think that’s what makes us special. We put great at-bats together as a team.”

Correa took Tigers starter Ryan Carpenter (0-2) deep for a three-run homer in the first inning to open the scoring. Carpenter had issued a leadoff walk to Springer and a single to Alex Bregman to set the table for the shortstop. Carpenter was tagged for three more in the second before surrendering a solo homer to Aledmys Díaz, who hit his second homer of the series and fifth of the season.

“Correa hit a ball in this ballpark that’s not normal,” manager AJ Hinch said. “It’s a big home run and off we were. The at-bats were really incredible pretty much on them every inning. It was a tough lineup for [Carpenter] to get through.”

After an RBI single from Diaz in the sixth to make it 10-4, Diaz drove in Tony Kemp in the eighth with a sacrifice fly after Kemp led the inning off with a triple.

Diaz, who started his fourth straight game at second, finished 2-for-3 with a walk, and is now 7-for-17 since starting second baseman Jose Altuve (left hamstring strain) went on the 10-day injured list.

“He’s a complete player, man,” Correa said. “He’s gonna get the job done. There’s no doubt about that. Altuve right now, we want Altuve to be 100 percent when he comes back, but Diaz is taking care of his job.”

Starter Wade Miley (4-2) threw 100 pitches over six innings and allowed all four runs on seven hits, including a two-run homer to Ronny Rodriguez in the sixth, while striking out five and walking two.

“I was kind of all over the place,” Miley said. “One thing I was frustrated with coming out of all this, we scored a boatload of runs. And as a starter, I just kind of wanted to get out there and throw strikes.”

Miley, however, has won his last three starts, dating back to May 4 against the Angels, and it was the fifth time in his last six outings that he’s gone at least six innings. The Astros have won seven of his nine starts.

Carpenter’s night was over after allowing eight runs -- seven earned -- through four innings, despite striking out five. Reliever Buck Farmer allowed the inside-the-park homer to Springer, who finished 2-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. It's the first inside-the-park homer for the Astros since Correa hit one on April 3 last season against the Orioles.

Springer entered the day slashing .447/.491/.872 through his last 12 games.

“We know George is going to run and dive and slide and try to make something out of it,” Hinch said. “A pretty exciting play. We don’t get to see it a lot, obviously, in our ballpark. But it’s fun when it happens for us.”

According to Statcast, Springer’s home-to-home time was 15.34 seconds, the fastest for an Astros player since Statcast began tracking in 2015. His average sprint speed on the play was 28.7 feet/second, 0.4 feet/second faster than his season average and 1.7 feet/second faster than the league average.

“I don’t know if that’s slow or fast,” Springer said. “I’m going as fast as I think I can or as fast as I think my body can move. I was happy I hit the ball hard.”