Springer's tie-breaking homer leads Astros past Giants 4-3
HOUSTON (AP) On his first night back in uniform in a week, George Springer exceeded his own expectations.
The pragmatic youngster went the plate in the eighth of a tie ballgame looking to reach base.
Instead, Springer hit a tie-breaking solo homer in the eighth and the Houston Astros rallied past the San Francisco Giants 4-3 on Wednesday night.
''I was thinking to get something up in the zone and hit it hard, slow yourself down and get to first base for whoever is behind me,'' Springer said. ''To help us win, it's obviously great.''
Springer had come off the seven-day concussion disabled list prior to the game. He sent Jeremy Affeldt's (0-2) 3-2 sinker over the yellow line in left-center. It was his lone hit and broke a 0 for 10 slump.
''Happy to have George back like we talked about pregame,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''For more than his energy - his swing.''
Affeldt said the pitch came back over the plate.
''It was the one time I needed the sinker to sink and it just didn't,'' Affeldt said. ''With this team we know they're pretty aggressive with the fastball and that's a guy that's probably all or nothing on that pitch.''
Chad Qualls (1-2) threw a perfect eighth for the win and Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
''All in all that was a big win for us,'' Hinch said. ''We needed a sort of a boost and a couple guys provided it. It wasn't just George. But George had the exclamation point.''
Buster Posey had three hits and three RBIs, putting the Giants ahead 3-1 in the fifth with a two-run homer after he gave San Francisco a 1-0 lead in the first on a single.
Posey had a chance to tie it in the ninth with runners on the corners and two outs, but he grounded back to the pitcher to end it.
''We had good at-bats, good and bad,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ''Our execution got us tonight. Little things, productive outs and missed hit-and-runs . those things catch up to you in a close ballgame.''
Jason Castro hit a solo homer for the second straight game, and Luis Valbuena tied it at three in the sixth with a solo homer.
Colby Rasmus tied it at one in the fourth with an RBI single.
Tim Hudson allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander rebounded after giving up six runs in his last start Thursday, but has allowed at least three runs in his last six starts.
Brett Oberholtzer lasted three innings in his first start of the year, allowing one run on five hits with three strikeouts. The lefty departed due to a blister on his pitching hand. Prior to the game, Oberholtzer came off the disabled list where he had been because of a left index finger blister suffered at the end of spring training.
Oberholtzer was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the blister following the game.
''Just the top layer came off,'' Oberholtzer said. ''There was no blood. It didn't boil up again like it previously did when I missed a month for it. I'm actually happy the top layer came off. It feels better now.''
Giants: Matt Cain threw a 20-pitch bullpen session. The light throwing session was the first time Cain has thrown off a mound since straining his flexor tendon April 4. Manager Bruce Bochy said it is the first of ''three or four'' bullpen sessions he will throw. . OF Hunter Pence continued his rehab assignment Wednesday. Pence has two hits in four games as he comes back from a fractured left forearm. Bochy said he is looking to get the outfielder more at-bats and will be evaluating him on a daily basis.
Giants: RHP Tim Lincecum (3-2) will try to continue his solid start Thursday against Cincinnati. Lincecum owns a 2.00 ERA this season, but has struggled against the Reds in his career, going 0-4 with a 9.79 ERA in six career starts.
Astros: RHP Roberto Hernandez (1-3) will start Thursday against Toronto as the Astros start a four-game series against the Blue Jays. Hernandez threw 7 2-3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits in his last start against the Angels Friday in a 2-0 loss.
HOUSTON'S POWER SURGE
Castro homered in consecutive games for the fourth time in his career but the first time since Aug. 28-29, 2014. He's now tied with Brad Ausmus for third place on Houston's all-time home run list by a catcher with 41. Springer's homer was his fourth in his last 12 games. As a team, Houston leads the AL with 49 homers.