Springer homers twice as Astros beat Orioles 4-2
HOUSTON (AP) With his team having already set the major league record for strikeouts in a three-game series, adding more to the pile was the last thing on Houston Astros reliever Ken Giles' mind.
Pitching for a third straight day, an exhausted Giles focused on finishing Houston's sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 4-2 win Thursday night.
''Can you blame me?'' Giles said after picking up his first save of the season. ''I was just trying to get outs. I just wanted the guys to put the ball in play and let the guys get the outs for me.''
Houston starter Lance McCullers (1-1) allowed just one hit - a home run to Mark Trumbo - and had 10 strikeouts in five innings, helping the Astros break the major league record for strikeouts in a three-game series with 52. The previous mark was 47 by Washington earlier this season.
''The consistency of the strikeouts was very unique,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''That's not an easy team to strike out, either. They're very potent.''
Houston, which finished with 15 strikeouts, became the first club since 1913 to have at least that many in three consecutive games. After a miserable opening month, the Astros finally have their first three-game winning streak of the season.
''I think the confidence grows as the strikeouts grow,'' Hinch said. ''As a pitcher, it breeds confidence and that their stuff is pretty good.''
Giles gave up an RBI single to Manny Machado in the ninth before getting Chris Davis to ground out to end the game.
''Ws or Ls is why we take the field every night, and how you get to them one way or the other may not look aesthetically pleasing, it's about do you score more runs than the other team after nine innings,'' Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. ''When you do something that's a break from the norm, then it gets a lot of attention.''
Springer's homers, which came against Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman, went 430 and 443 feet, respectively. His first came on the second pitch of the game for the Astros' seventh leadoff homer of the season. The previous six were hit by Jose Altuve.
With Altuve's newfound power this season, the two hitters swapped positions at the top of the order in recent weeks.
''I understand who I am as a hitter and who I have behind me,'' Springer said. ''The most important thing is to get to first base and see what happens.''
Gausman (0-2) allowed four runs and five hits - including three homers - in five innings after having previously allowed three home runs in 36 2/3 innings this season.
Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning for his fifth of the season.
The first three hits of the game were all home runs until Altuve's third-inning single snapped his 0-for-18 slump.
Orioles: LHP T.J. McFarland, who was placed on the disabled list with a bruised patella on May 21, will throw a two-inning simulated game Friday, manager Buck Showalter said. He is expected to return to Triple-A Norfolk's active roster after that.
Astros: OF Carlos Gomez, who is on the disabled list with a bruised left ribcage, had a rest day in his rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday. Gomez went 1 for 4 with a solo home run in his second start in Corpus Christi on Wednesday night.
Orioles: Mike Wright (2-3, 4.97) is expected to make his 10th start on Friday in Cleveland. Despite going at least five innings in each start this season, Wright has just one win in his last four starts. Wright allowed five hits and two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 9-4 win over the Angels in his last outing.
Astros: Mike Fiers (3-2, 4.35) is scheduled to make his ninth start on Friday against the Angels. Fiers had a three-game winning streak snapped in his last start against Texas, taking a loss despite allowing just two runs in seven innings. He leads Astros starters with a 3.19 ERA since April 23.