[May 30, 2014]HOUSTON -- As rookie right fielder
George Springer continues his assault on the record book unabated, the
Houston Astros continue to supplement his performances with exceptional
efforts all around.
Springer cranked his 10th home run this month and teamed with
second baseman Jose Altuve to lift the Houston Astros to a 3-1
victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Minute Maid
The Astros extended their winning streak to a season-high six games.
After Altuve, who leads the major leagues with 23 multi-hit games,
recorded his American League-leading 19th stolen base with one out
in the seventh inning, Springer drilled a 3-2 pitch from Orioles
right-hander Preston Guilmet (0-1) into the first row of the
Crawford Boxes in left field. The game-winning, two-run blast
snapped a 1-1 deadlock.
Springer has seven home runs in his past seven games. The last
rookie to pull off that feat was Rudy York of the Detroit Tigers
from Aug. 22-27, 1937.
"I was screaming at it," Springer said of the line drive. "I was
saying, 'Go, go, go,' and it went, so thank you baseball.
"It was awesome. I was just happy to score (Altuve) from second
base. That was pretty much all I was trying to do was get him in. I
was able to hit the home run. I was happy."
Altuve finished 3-for-4 with two stolen bases, producing his ninth
three-hit game. He leads the majors with 76 hits.
The Astros (23-32) were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position
before Springer delivered the two-run blast. Houston finished
1-for-15 with men in scoring position.
Right-hander Chad Qualls picked up his fourth save after
right-hander Josh Fields (1-3) recorded three strikeouts in two
scoreless innings. The Houston bullpen, maligned and injury-ravaged
for the first six weeks of this season, has a 1.22 ERA over its last
16 games dating to May 11.
Baltimore (26-26) fell for the third time in four games to open its
10-game, 11-day road trip.
Scratched from his previous start due to forearm soreness, Astros
right-hander Brad Peacock picked up where he left off before the
detour. He had 26 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings in May before
Thursday, and he added eight to that monthly ledger while delivering
another quality start.
Peacock used knee-buckling curveballs for called third strikes
against shortstop J.J. Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado in the
second inning, and he fanned four of five Orioles bridging the
fourth and fifth innings, including Hardy and Machado again.
Baltimore pulled even at 1-1 when designated hitter Nelson Cruz
laced an RBI single to right field in the fourth, scoring left
fielder Steve Pearce, who reached on a leadoff double.
When the Orioles put runners on the corners with two outs in the
sixth, Peacock induced a groundout from Hardy to escape danger. That
marked the first inning that Baltimore stranded multiple
"Definitely the best I felt all year," Peacock said. "I was able to
locate anything I wanted for strikes."
The Astros, meanwhile, struggled to get timely hits against
Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, who loaded the bases with two
walks and a single in the second inning before uncorking a wild
pitch that enabled Jason Castro to score for a 1-0 Houston lead.
Jimenez covered home plate, and after snagging the throw from
catcher Nick Hundley, he appeared to tag Castro before the Astros
catcher slid in. The subsequent review lasted 4:25, the longest at
Minute Maid Park this season. The original ruling that Castro was
safe was upheld to the Orioles' dismay.
"Yeah, he's out," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm not sure
what they're looking at."
Said Jimenez, who allowed one run on three hits and three walks with
eight strikeouts over six innings: "I was for sure I had him because
his cleat got caught in my glove. He almost made a hole in the
glove. That's what I was trying to show the umpire (Mike
Muchlinski). He never touched home plate. I had a hole mark from his
cleat in my glove."
NOTES: Orioles C Matt Wieters (right elbow strain) will began a
soft-toss throwing program Friday. Wieters will do little more than
play catch. ... Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter (left groin strain) has
thrown on flat ground four times and is progressing without
discomfort. He remains on schedule to return June 5. ... Houston
will utilize a six-man rotation one trip through the rotation in
order to provide RHPs Scott Feldman and Brad Peacock and LHP Dallas
Keuchel additional rest. The Astros have a scheduled off day Monday.
... Orioles 3B Manny Machado batted seventh, the first time this
season he hit someplace other than second. LF Steve Pearce manned
the No. 2 slot.