Springer hits 2 HRs, leads Astros over Rockies
HOUSTON (AP) On a night when he homered twice, George Springer was more proud of his defense for the Houston Astros.
''Because that's an opportunity to help us out even more,'' Springer said.
Springer made two nifty catches in right field to pair with his big night at the plate, Colby Rasmus hit a three-run homer and the Astros beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Monday night.
''George is playing complete baseball I think on both sides of the ball and we're watching him mature right before our eyes and he's an exciting player when puts things together like this,'' manager A.J. Hinch said of the second-year player.
Rasmus gave the Astros a 4-0 lead with his shot in the first inning and Springer hit solo home runs in the second and seventh. Rasmus was placed on the bereavement list after the game following the death of his grandmother and outfielder Domingo Santana was recalled to take his spot on the roster.
Dallas Keuchel (8-2) retired the first 15 Colorado batters. He wound up allowing four hits and left after an RBI double by Nick Hundley pulled the Rockies within 5-3 with two outs in the seventh.
Luke Gregerson allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth for his 16th save.
Chad Bettis (2-2) gave up seven hits and a season-high five runs in five innings. He hadn't allowed a homer this season and the two he gave up on Monday tie a career high.
''This team in general is just very aggressive,'' Bettis said. ''That was kind of their motto coming into the game and it showed. Didn't have a very good feel for my off-speed and got hurt for it.''
The Astros, who lead the majors with 88 home runs, improved to 24-0 this season when hitting more than one homer.
It was the second career multihomer game for Springer, who finished with three hits. Rookie Carlos Correa had his first career three-hit game, all singles.
Houston opened the game with three straight singles, capped by one from Preston Tucker, to make it 1-0. The homer by Rasmus came with one out.
Springer's homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field pushed the lead to 5-0 in the second.
Keuchel was perfect through five innings before walking Rafael Ynoa to start the sixth. Hundley followed with a single.
''I just ran out of gas there in the sixth inning and that was unfortunate,'' Keuchel said.
Ynoa was robbed of a hit in the third inning when Springer made a diving grab in shallow right. Springer displayed his sparkling defense again in the sixth when he made another diving catch, this one on a ball hit hard by DJ LeMahieu.
Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado hit back to back RBI singles after that to cut the lead to 5-2.
Springer's second homer came off LaTroy Hawkins to start the seventh inning.
This was Keuchel's 25th straight start of six innings or longer, the longest such streak in the majors.
TUCKER AND TUCKER
The Astros signed Kyle Tucker, who was the fifth overall pick in this year's draft. The left-handed outfielder joins brother Preston in the organization. Kyle was thrilled to take batting practice with his big brother before the game.
''It was awesome,'' Kyle said. ''I got to hit with him a little bit and talk to some of the guys and get a little bit of a relationship with them.''
Astros: All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve sat out for the third straight game with a strained right hamstring. Manager Hinch said Altuve was feeling ''great'' on Monday, but that he decided to give him an extra day off as a precaution. He expects him to be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
Houston rookie Vince Velasquez opposes left-hander Chris Rusin when the short two-game series wraps up on Tuesday. Velasquez pitched five scoreless innings in his major league debut on Wednesday, but didn't factor into the decision.