Springer smashes 2 of Astros' 5 homers

Springer smashes 2 of Astros' 5 homers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Astros right fielder George Springer accounted for two of the five home runs the Astros hit before Houston needed a three-run eighth to claim a 12-9 win over the Braves on Monday night at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.

The Braves tied the score when Hector Olivera and Jeff Francoeur notched doubles off Wandy Rodriguez during a three-run seventh inning, but the Astros reclaimed the lead when Colin Moran capped his four-RBI performance by highlighting the three-run eighth with a two-run double off Jose Ramirez.

Springer drilled the first pitch of the game from Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz over the wall in left-center, then tallied another solo shot off Williams Perez during Houston's three-run fourth. The homers were the first for Springer this spring.

Foltynewicz surrendered four home runs while allowing the Astros six runs -- five earned -- over three innings. Carlos Gomez and Preston Tucker opened the second inning with consecutive home runs, and Moran added a two-run shot in the third off Foltynewicz, who had unexpectedly become the favorite for the fifth spot in Atlanta's rotation after tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Astros last week.

This was just the third start for Foltynewicz, who spent the winter regaining the strength he lost after being sidelined by a blood clot in September.

"I think I was just getting a little too excited being out there against my old team for a second time," said Foltynewicz, who was acquired by the Braves in the January 2015 trade that sent Evan Gattis to Houston. "I tried to overthrow my offspeed [pitches], and you saw the results."

Astros right-hander Doug Fister endured his second consecutive rough start, as he allowed six earned runs on seven hits in just 4 2/3 innings. Most of the damage came during a four-run second inning that included three straight hits, including A.J. Pierzynski's RBI double.

"We got the work in," said Fister, who threw 97 pitches in his first Grapefruit League appearance since allowing five earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on March 18. "Obviously, there were some hits here and there that really got me. The biggest things for me were the [four] walks. I've got to quit nibbling on a couple of those counts. One of them was a 2-2 pitch, and I went inside on a right-hander and wanted to make sure I got it in and kind of go back away and missed away. There's things like that I definitely need to work on, but I feel I'm in a good spot coming out of Spring Training. I've got a couple of bullpens coming up getting ready for the season. I still have some mechanics I can work on and need to work on, and I think we're in a good spot."

Olivera notched three hits, including a two-run double in the fifth inning off Fister.

Perez surrendered four consecutive two-out hits, including Springer's second homer and Carlos Correa's RBI triple, during the fourth inning, but he worked three more scoreless innings and in the process also stayed in the mix for one of the two vacancies in Atlanta's rotation.

Up next for the Astros: The Astros will take Tuesday off before playing their final Grapefruit League game of 2016 at 12:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. Dallas Keuchel will be making his final start of the spring before taking the ball on Opening Day for the second year in a row, on April 4 against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Up next for the Braves: Matt Wisler will make his final Grapefruit League start and Jason Grilli will make his fourth appearance when the Braves travel to Sarasota, Fla., to play the Orioles on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. ET. Grilli has provided indication that he will realize his goal of being ready for Opening Day after spending this winter recovering from a ruptured left Achilles tendon, an injury he sustained in July. Wisler will begin the season as Atlanta's No. 3 starter.