HOUSTON (AP) — George Springer started the Houston Astros’ barrage and didn’t let up.
Springer was 5 for 5 with four RBIs and a pair of home runs that increased total to an AL-high 15, leading the Astros to a 15-5 rout over Texas on Sunday and a four-game sweep of the Rangers.
“It’s one of those things where I think hitting is extremely contagious,” Springer said. “If a guy sees someone else hit a knock, he wants to get one and the next guy wants to get one. I think the guys today did a good job of passing the baton on.”
Springer hit his fifth leadoff homer this season and big league-high 29th since the start of 2015, a drive off Adrian Sampson (0-3). He hit an RBI single in the second, singled again in the fourth and fifth, then hit a two-run homer off the train tracks in left in the sixth against Brett Martin. It was his first multi-homer game since April 13 last year, also against the Rangers.
“He’s got all sorts of levels he can go to,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. “He’s in a really good place physically and preparation-wise. When he’s getting pitches to hit, he’s not missing them. He’s doing a ton of damage, and it’s so exciting when he’s at the top of the order doing this stuff.”
Springer became the first Astros player to have five hits and score five runs in a game.
“I’m happy to do it and happy to help us win,” Springer said. “Me scoring runs means the guys behind me did their jobs as well.”
Alex Bregman also homered twice and tied his career best with five RBIs as the Astros set season highs for runs and hits (18). They extended their winning streak to five. Bregman hit a two-run homer in the second for a 4-0 lead and a three-run drive in the fifth against Ariel Jurado as Houston opened a 10-1 advantage.
“We had a great homestand with a lot of wins,” Bregman said. “I’m super excited to see Springer go off today. Great offensive day.”
Corbin Martin (1-0) struck out nine in his major league debut, allowing two runs, three hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings.
Martin, selected with the 56th overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft, signed for a $1,178,600 bonus. The 23-year-old right-hander was 1-1 with a 1.48 ERA at Triple-A Round Rock this season.
“After I got that first pitch out of the way, I think it all settled in that I have been doing this for a long time, and I shouldn’t change anything,” Martin said. “It’s easier to pitch when you have a big lead like that.”Fans gave him a standing ovation when he was removed.
“I just told him there’s only one first time,” Hinch said. “He should be incredibly proud. I’m really thankful our fans sensed the moment and gave him an incredible ovation.”
Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Elvis Andrus homered for the Rangers, who have lost five of six.
“We aren’t happy with this result, but we’ve got to use this series as something to springboard off of as something to learn from and something to grow from,” Hunter Pence said. “If you take all this valuable information, you can extract from these moments how we can improve.”
Sampson allowed six runs — five earned — and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 5.25.
“You have to set your standards higher,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “Will you always get there? No. But when you have to take care of the baseball, execute pitches, have quality at bats and typically good things happen. When you don’t do those things, you get exposed. Those are the kind of things good teams take advantage of.”
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve was placed on the 10-day injured list, a move retroactive to Saturday, due to a left hamstring strain. The Astros selected the contract of Martin from Round Rock.
Rangers: RHP Shelby Miller (1-2, 7.48 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Kansas City on Tuesday. Miller allowed two runs over four innings on Wednesday at Pittsburgh.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (3-2, 4.30) starts Monday at Detroit in the opener of a three-game series. Peacock struck out a career-high 12 in seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Royals.
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