Springer's leaping catch, Conger's two-run homer lift Astros
By Brian McTaggart and Dave Sessions
ARLINGTON -- Four innings after right-fielder George Springer made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin of a potential walk-off grand slam, backup catcher Hank Conger hit a two-run homer to send the Astros to a 6-4 win in 14 innings Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
"I was just trying to see a good pitch," said Conger, who came into the game in the 12th and hit the first pitch he saw. "If you get a fastball, just try to take a hack. You come in late, you're just trying to take a good swing."
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel held the Rangers to six hits and two runs in seven innings and was in line for his second consecutive victory before Texas rallied for a pair of runs against Houston's bullpen in the eighth. With the bases loaded, Chad Qualls walked Rougned Odor and gave up a game-tying sac fly to Carlos Corporan.
The Astros scored four runs in the second inning, capped by a two-run homer by Jake Marisnick, to take a 4-0 lead, but managed little else against Colby Lewis, who went 7 1/3 innings.
"That was one inning that I'm sure Colby would like back, but he battled," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He finished up with 90 pitches and some strong innings after that."
The Rangers sliced the lead in half in the seventh on a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded by Martin, who snapped an 0-for-18 funk.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bullpen pieces it together after blowing lead: Keuchel had another terrific game Sunday, holding the Rangers to two runs in seven innings before turning the game over the bullpen. The Rangers scored twice in eighth to tie the game and force extra innings, but Tony Sipp, Luke Gregerson, Will Harris and Samuel Deduno shut the Rangers down over the final six innings.
"He was cruising early," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I loved the way he was mixing his pitches. They were swinging early and he was getting ground balls like he always does and he was on his way to a really efficient game with quality attached to it. They made him work a couple of innings and he had a lot of energy he had to extend in the inning they scored two. It was a quality start, quality outing for him." More >
Second inning dooms Lewis: Lewis had only one problematic inning, allowing a solo homer to Luis Valbuena to start the second, then a two-out triple to Colby Rasmus, an RBI double to Marwin Gonzalez and a two-run homer to Marisnick.
"I just fell behind guys, I felt like I wasn't even close on the first couple of pitches … the second inning was all about me falling behind on guys," Lewis said.
Right fielder Jake Smolinski might have had a chance to catch Gonzalez's double to the warning track though, which would have ended the inning and saved three runs. Smolinski appeared to lose track of the ball as he ran backwards toward the wall and then stumbled.
No need to swing: The Rangers tied the game in the eighth inning thanks in large part to two walks. Texas' patience at the plate led to two runs, including one when Odor drew a bases-loaded walk. The Rangers also had two hit batsmen in the eighth, though neither scored.
Springer robs Martin with incredible catch: Springer is struggling at the plate to start this season, but he made one of the most amazing catches you'll see when he reached above the right-field wall to make an amazing grab and rob Martin of a potential walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning. Martin couldn't believe it, staring towards Springer with his bat in his hand as the Astros ran off the field. More >
"It got hit and I knew it was over my head," Springer said. "We're obviously playing back in that situation and I could tell it was over my head and could feel myself on the track and knew I had to jump. And I jumped." More >
"I don't think I have to explain how grateful I was. I was just playing around on Instagram saying 'Thank God for the Spring in Springer.'" -- Sipp, who was on the mound when Springer made his game-saving catch at the wall in the 10th.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Astros DH Evan Gattis went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He's 0-for-20 on the season and 0-for-34 dating to last season.
The Rangers won a replay challenge in the 14th inning, after Mitch Moreland was hit on the foot by a Deduno pitch. It was called a ball but after a review of 1 minute, 54 seconds, the call was reversed. Moreland took first to load the bases before Odor flied out to end the game.
"He said it didn't hit me, I tried to show him the ball mark on my cleat," Moreland said of plate umpire Laz Diaz. "I figured they would replay it and get it right, and they did."
WHAT'S NEXT Astros:The Astros return home for a weeklong homestand against AL West foes, beginning Monday against the A's at Minute Maid Park at 7:05 p.m. CT. Scott Feldman, who held the Indians to one run in 6 ⅔ innings in his first start of the season Wednesday against the Indians, will make his second start of the season.
Rangers: The Rangers begin a three-game home series with the Angels at 7:05 p.m. CT Monday, with lefty Ross Detwiler set to make his second start of the season. He got knocked around in his Rangers debut last week, allowing eight runs -- five earned -- in 4 1/3 innings in Oakland. He gave up 10 hits and walked two.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.