SEATTLE (AP) — George Springer has been simply powerful in the first inning this year.
Springer hit Ariel Miranda's first pitch over the left-center field fence for his fourth leadoff homer in nine games to start the Houston Astros' 7-5 win against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. It's the first time any player has had as many leadoff homers this early in the season.
His key? Simplicity.
"Just looking for something to hit hard. You can't really think anything else," Springer said. "You've just got to hit the ball hard, and whatever happens, happens."
The Mariners recovered to take a 3-2 lead going into the sixth inning, but the Astros got a pair of lucky bounces with two outs which led to four runs.
After Miranda (0-1) walked two batters with two outs, Yuli Gurriel hit a chopper off home plate against James Pazos that bounced high enough for an infield hit and loaded the bases. Pinch-hitter Evan Gattis then hit a fly ball that bounced off right fielder Mitch Haniger's glove as he tried for a sliding catch, giving Gattis a bases-clearing double.
"I think Mitch would say that's a ball he comes up with most times," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Great effort. Went after the way he should with the game kind of on the line there in the sixth with the bases loaded, just didn't come up with it. Some nights it happens."
Pazos gave up hits to all four batters he faced, including a run-scoring single by Alex Bregman as the Astros took the lead for good.
Joe Musgrove (1-0) pitched into the sixth inning, giving up three runs and seven hits for Houston, even though he said he struggled with his command.
"I didn't feel very good tonight," Musgrove said. "Although I threw some good strikes, I wasn't throwing them where I wanted to."