Springer, Grossman provide long-ball support for Astros
Homers help spark struggling offense to 4-0 win on Saturday
HOUSTON -- George Springer's first homer of the season in the sixth inning eased the tension, and Robbie Grossman's first blast of the year an inning later sealed the deal in the Astros' 4-0 win over the Angels on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
The first homers of the season for both came at a great time for the Astros, who are scuffling on offense this season while they await sluggers Chris Carter and Evan Gattis to get going.
"It's fun," said Grossman, whose opposite-field shot in the seventh off Mike Morin put Houston ahead, 4-0. "We're winning games. It doesn't get better than that."
Springer, who hadn't homered since last July 19 in Chicago against the White Sox -- his final game of the season because of an injury -- walloped a 1-1 pitch from Angels starter C.J. Wilson in the sixth and sent it 386 feet over the left-field wall for a 1-0 lead.
"That at-bat right there, I'm just trying to get on base," said Springer, who has 21 homers and 54 RBIs in 89 career games. "You could say the home run sparked us, but it was kind of one of those things I hit the ball hard and the team followed suit afterwards."
In the seventh inning, Jake Marisnick singled with two outs, which spelled the end of the line for Wilson. While Morin was warming up, Astros manager A.J. Hinch pulled Marisnick aside and told him to swipe a base if the opportunity presented itself. He stole second, and the Angels opted to walk lead-off hitter Jose Altuve.
"They want to put more guys on base, you're getting to the two, three, four area of our order," Hinch said. "It's tough to watch Altuve not be able to get pitches to hit, but when you're going right and you have that part of our order coming up, guys should be able to pick them up when they don't want to pitch to them."
Grossman did just that. He hit the second pitch from Morin -- a 1-0 fastball -- to the opposite field and into the Crawford Boxes in left field to make it 4-0. He said you can't help but take offense when the opposition walks the player in front of you, even if it is the defending AL batting champ.
"Oh yeah, but it's part of the game," he said. "Like I said, I'm glad I capitalized on that and helped our team score some more runs."