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Springer pounces on Sale with mad dash, HR

Leadoff batter belts 436-foot shot over gas pump in left-center
June 1, 2018

HOUSTON -- It takes one of baseball's most powerful hitters to smack a home run 400-plus feet over the classic gas pump in left-center field at Minute Maid Park.From his usual leadoff spot, George Springer drew an eight-pitch walk in the first inning. Two innings later, Springer muscled a 436-foot

HOUSTON -- It takes one of baseball's most powerful hitters to smack a home run 400-plus feet over the classic gas pump in left-center field at Minute Maid Park.
From his usual leadoff spot, George Springer drew an eight-pitch walk in the first inning. Two innings later, Springer muscled a 436-foot solo home run to the gas pump -- which counts all of the home runs barreled in the ballpark -- for his 12th long ball of the season, sending the Astros to an eventual 7-3 win on Friday night against the Red Sox.
"I just kind of happened to hit it well," Springer said of his homer, which came off ace lefty Chris Sale.
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"I thought [Springer] was great," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "He drew the walk early with a really good at-bat, then obviously the really good home run. He's a big boy. He can hit the ball to a lot of areas of the ballpark, but that's pretty high up over that gas tank. He's an energy provider for us. His at-bats were really good. … We play pretty well when he plays well."

Springer snapped an 0-for-10 streak with the home run. Prior to Friday's game, Springer was 2-for-25 (.080) with seven strikeouts over his previous six games.
Springer leads the Astros in home runs and ranks second in RBIs at 35, behind shortstop Carlos Correa's 39.
The outfielder's 436-footer was the longest of five home runs hit Friday, with Correa and Evan Gattis going deep in the eighth for Houston, and Boston getting back-to-back shots from Mitch Moreland and J.D. Martinez in the fourth.

Springer's homer also helped make for a rocky night for Sale, who was forced to throw 34 first-inning pitches.
"For us to come out in the first inning and make him work some and throw some pitches is big," Springer said.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.