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Springer homers twice as Astros beat Braves 12-9

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) George Springer hit his first two homers of the spring, and the Houston Astros beat the Atlanta Braves 12-9 on Monday night.

Springer connected on the game's first pitch against Mike Foltynewicz and belted another solo shot in the fourth against Williams Perez.

''You don't really expect people to swing at the first pitch, but nowadays I think a lot of them are going to start to,'' Foltynewicz said. ''You've got to be prepared.''

Springer hit 16 homers in 102 games last season with the Astros, but it took him 15 games to hit one this spring.

''I think what's happened with George over the course of the last year is he's become a really good hitter,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''I don't want to say it's taken away some of his power, but it's taken away some of his reliance upon the power. His combination of power, speed and at-bat management is why we really feel he's a dynamic player.''

Carlos Gomez, Preston Tucker and Colin Moran also homered for Houston. Doug Fister gave up six runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings in his final spring start.

Atlanta's Hector Olivera had three hits and four RBIs. He went 3 for 4 to raise his spring batting average to .411.


Astros: Fister will pitch Houston's fourth or fifth regular-season game on April 8 or 9 in Milwaukee.

''I've definitely answered some questions for myself physically and mentally, and I like where I'm at,'' he said. ''I'm back in the starting rotation and where I want to be.''

Braves: Foltynewicz gave up six hits, including four home runs, in three innings.

''I was rushing my deliveries. I guess I was getting a little excited out there against my old team,'' he said.


Although manager Fredi Gonzalez said it many different ways all spring, the Braves made it official Monday that Julio Teheran will pitch next Monday's season opener against the Washington Nationals.

''It's still an honor to be back pitching the first game of the season, and I'm excited this time to be at home,'' Teheran said. ''Hopefully I'll be the first one every year.''


Houston sent first baseman Jon Singleton to its minor league camp. The 24-year-old Singleton hit .191 with a homer and six RBIs in 19 games with the Astros last season.

''I told him it's very difficult when an opportunity is right there in front of you and we're going to go with somebody different,'' Hinch said. ''It's been the same story for him over the last couple years so I feel his pain because he hasn't really broken through when he needed to the most.''


The Astros acquired catcher Erik Kratz from the San Diego Padres in exchange for right-hander Dan Straily, who appeared in five spring games. Kratz, 35, and Jason Castro are the only healthy catchers on the 40-man roster, although C Roberto Pena remains in camp.


Astros: OF Jake Marisnick left after spraining an ankle while running the bases.


Astros: After Tuesday's scheduled off day, opening-day starter Dallas Keuchel will get his final spring start Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Clearwater.

Braves: RHP Matt Wisler will pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Sarasota on Tuesday.