SEATTLE -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch scoffed at the idea that the homers hit late by Colby Rasmus and George Springer in Sunday's 6-2 win over the Mariners weren't needed. No, they didn't matter in the final outcome, but a four-run lead in the ninth allows everyone to rest a bit easier than a one-run lead.
Rasmus' two-run blast in the seventh inning and Springer's solo homer in the ninth allowed the Astros to stretch their franchise record of hitting multiple homers to eight games. They've hit 20 homers in that stretch and lead the Majors with 103 long balls overall.
"We always need the home runs," Hinch said. "We continue to hit 'em out of the ballpark. Colby's home run is at an opportune time as you can get. That separation from a one-run lead to a three-run lead was key for us, and then obviously George with the tack-on homer. You know it's a part of our offense, so we take them every day."
Springer extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games by going 3-for-5, including his 12th home run. He's hitting .485 during the streak with 12 runs, doubles, four homers and seven RBIs and has ignited the Astros' offense from the top of the order.
"It's the quality of at-bats that's the most impressive," Hinch said. "I mean, he's not perfect, and he doesn't have to be to be really effective, and I love how he's competing with two strikes. You know he's setting the tempo for us very early in games. He's a real threat. He can steal bases, he can do a lot. So having him be our energy, be at the top of the order during this stretch has been a big key. He jump-starts us in a lot of different ways."
Springer has cut down on his swing and is more content taking a single up the middle than trying to hit the ball 450 feet, though he has as much raw power as anyone.
"I understand that the object is to get to first base and I think that's helped slow me down," he said. "Instead of me trying to hit a home run every single time, you know, I just understand that if I just take a nice, easy, controlled swing and get to first base for whoever's up behind me, our offense can go."
Rasmus, meanwhile, became the fifth Astros hitter to reach double-digit homers. He's hitting .254 with 10 homers, 25 RBIs and an .839 OPS that's second on the team behind Springer's .868. He said playing alongside Springer was been a treat.
"He comes every day having fun and smiling and that's a big thing," he said. "Especially being a young player like he is, he gets treated like a veteran, which is cool. That has something to do with his success to make him feel like he comes with that confidence every day and he's not beaten by other players. He's happy every day. I love playing with him. He comes with a lot of energy. He's been having balls fall for him, which is a great thing."