Springer thriving in Astros' leadoff role

Springer thriving in Astros' leadoff role

HOUSTON -- Now that he's hitting leadoff for the Astros, outfielder George Springer said all that he's concerned with is getting on base. Of course, there's no better way to get on base than to hit the ball out of the ballpark, and Springer launched a pair of solo homers in the Astros' 4-2 win over the Orioles on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.

Springer led off the first inning with a homer and added a solo shot in the sixth, giving him a team-high 11 for the season and his third career multihomer game. Since supplanting Jose Altuve in the leadoff spot in the order on Tuesday, Springer is 6-for-12.

"I just try to slow everything down and get to first base for Jose," said Springer, who's reached base in 16 consecutive games. "[Altuve] is our guy and I do anything I can, which is get to first base and try to have good, quality at-bats and help the team."

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Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Springer is a good hitter first and a power hitter second. He's hitting .270 is second on team with 28 RBIs and a .364 on-base percentage that's second only to Altuve (.395).

"The on-base is always there," Hinch said. "He does execute at-bats. He's a really aggressive first-pitch swinger, but then as the at-bat goes, it gets longer and longer and longer and is very disciplined. I think his mentality shifts a little bit as he gets to the leadoff spot, that he's going to be a good hitter first and dangerous second, and lo and behold, the good hitter comes.

"I think some of that comes with staying under control. Some of it comes from pitch selection. That's always important. And then for him, not trying to do too much. … I think he does take it to heart to be a good leadoff hitter to get on base, and he's doing it a lot."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.