Astros 'Spring' to action with 7-run first

Springer's two hits highlight big inning against A's Hahn

Astros 'Spring' to action with 7-run first

HOUSTON -- The offensive onslaught began with -- what else? -- a single by George Springer and ended the same way. When the dust settled, the Astros had scored seven runs and were well on their way to a 12-2 rout of the A's on Friday night at Minute Maid Park for their ninth win in their past 11 games.

Springer went 2-for-2 in the first inning as the Astros sent 12 batters to the plate and enjoyed their biggest outburst of the season. They finished the game with a season-high 16 hits and got contributions from every spot in the batting order, giving manager A.J. Hinch the luxury of pulling Jose Altuve and Springer out of the game for rest.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Springer and other #ASGWorthy players

"That was probably our best inning," Hinch said. "We had 10 out of 12 quality plate appearances where we put excellent at-bats up against them. Not very often you have an inning where [Carlos] Correa makes two outs. That was a really, really impressive inning of continuing to do something positive to get the next guy up to bat and produced seven runs. That's obviously a good way to start."

The only players who didn't reach base in the first inning for Houston were Correa, who struck out twice, and Evan Gattis, who did contribute with an RBI groundout. That was the start of a big night for Gattis, who went 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs in his fourth consecutive start at catcher.

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"I always try to do my job first for the pitcher, and everything else is like icing on the cake," said Gattis, who's taken up the workload at catcher for ill starter Jason Castro.

When Gattis grounded out in the first, the Astros led, 2-0, against A's starter Jesse Hahn, but there were two outs. It turns out the Astros were just getting started.

Tyler White followed Luis Valbuena's walk with an RBI single, and Tony Kemp got credit for a two-run triple when a ball he hit into the gap in right-center caromed off the glove of Chris Coghlan to make it 5-0. Jake Marisnick knocked in Kemp with an RBI single and scored on Springer's hit after stealing second base.

"We showed off our athleticism," Hinch said. "Our at-bat quality was really good, our take-what-the-game-gives-you -- couple singles, couple doubles, couple walks -- was good. Kemp had the big triple on the running non-catch in right. Other than the home run, which everyone expects out of us, we did a little of everything that inning."

Kemp said the Astros were hunting fastballs early in counts.

"We knew [Hahn] had a really good fastball, 93-94 [mph], and we were making sure we got in the zone and making sure we could attack him, and we stuck to the plan and everybody did a good job tonight," Kemp said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for 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.