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Astros top A's on key hit from red-hot Springer

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

OAKLAND -- The Astros only needed one hit from outfielder George Springer on Tuesday night.

Springer, who tied a club record by getting six hits in Monday's win over the A's, delivered a two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning that put the Astros ahead and helped them to a 4-2 win at Oakland Coliseum.

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OAKLAND -- The Astros only needed one hit from outfielder George Springer on Tuesday night.

Springer, who tied a club record by getting six hits in Monday's win over the A's, delivered a two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning that put the Astros ahead and helped them to a 4-2 win at Oakland Coliseum.

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Springer, who went 2-for-4, has hit safely in all five games against the A's this season, batting .619 (13-for-21), including eight hits in 10 at-bats in the first two games of this series. His go-ahead double came after Brian McCann was hit by a pitch with two outs and Jake Marisnick doubled.

"With this team, anything can happen," Springer said. "With the guys hitting behind me, I feel like I'm up every inning. Mac got hit, and Jake had a great at-bat and put us in position to get another guy up to the plate. Those are good, quality team at-bats."

Video: HOU@OAK: McCullers induces double play, escapes jam

Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. (5-1) won his fourth consecutive decision by navigating through five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks. The Astros' bullpen shut down the A's by retiring 11 of the 12 batters it faced, with Brad Peacock tossing two perfect innings, Chris Devenski throwing a 1-2-3 eighth and Ken Giles getting his fourth save.

McCullers said he didn't have his curveball -- his best pitch -- and he had to work out of trouble all game. In the third, he allowed only one run after the A's loaded the bases with no outs on an infield single and two walks.

"He was walking a fine line of how deep he was going to get," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

McCullers threw almost as many changeups (26) as curves (28), as he reached a career high for changeups for the second start in a row. Prior to his last outing, when he also threw 26, his career high for changeups was 22 (once in 2015 and once in '16).

"My breaking ball has been a little bit elusive so far this year," McCullers said. "I've flashed it at times, but it's hard when you know how to pitch one way and that way is not really there for you. Today was one of those games where you try to battle, and I made some big pitches when I needed to, a lot of guys made some great plays behind me and you come out of the game with a team 'W.'"

Giles made his first appearance since giving up four runs against the Yankees last Tuesday, when he punched himself in the face as he came off the mound. He rebounded, getting Chad Pinder to ground into a game-ending double play.

Video: HOU@OAK: Giles induces double play to earn 4th save

"It was nice to see him close out the game, especially under a little bit of duress -- the runner gets on base," Hinch said. "He's coming off some emotional outings, and for him to get the ball where he needed, it's nice to see."

A's starter Sean Manaea (4-4), who held the Astros to one unearned run in seven innings on April 27, pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on seven hits -- both matching season highs.

"He's a tough pitcher," Hinch said. "He's been tough on us. He entices you above the zone, below the zone, can mix his pitches well. We just got a couple of pitches in the zone that we stayed disciplined on and drove them to the outfield wall. It's not easy to do. You don't get a ton of hard contact off of him. I thought our at-bats were really good off of him."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Springer saves the day: McCullers found himself in a jam in the third when Marcus Semien reached on an infield hit to start the inning and Matt Joyce and Jed Lowrie drew walks to load the bases with no outs. Khris Davis, Oakland's cleanup hitter, drilled a 107.3 mph laser to right field that Springer managed to reach up and grab, just before it went over his head. It went for a sacrifice fly, and McCullers got Matt Olson to ground into an inning-ending double play to prevent further damage.

"That was probably the biggest play of the game," Hinch said. "They break the game open in some sense, or at least separate a little bit, get our bullpen going. Who knows how the inning ends if Springer doesn't make that play?"

Video: HOU@OAK: Springer leaps to make terrific catch

SOUND SMART
McCann has reached base in all 16 of his career starts at Oakland Coliseum.

HE SAID IT
"If anyone knows where my curveball's at, I'd like it overnighted to Minute Maid [Park]. That would be great." -- McCullers, on his issues with his top pitch

UP NEXT
Gerrit Cole (3-1, 1.42 ERA) will start Wednesday's 2:35 p.m. CT series finale against the A's at Oakland Coliseum. Cole is coming off one of the best performances by a starting pitcher in Astros history, striking out 16 batters in a one-hit shutout of the D-backs last Friday. Right-hander Daniel Mengden (2-3, 4.30) will start for Oakland.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, George Springer