Astros reap rewards of Springer's skill set

Astros reap rewards of Springer's skill set

ST. LOUIS -- When asked what gave him more satisfaction on Wednesday -- his stellar play in the fifth, when he threw out a runner at the plate, or his go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth -- George Springer gave the most George Springer answer ever.

"The win," Springer said with a smile.

The win, a 4-1 triumph over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, wouldn't have been possible without the contributions of the Astros' high-flying right fielder, whose blast off reliever Kevin Siegrist put the Astros ahead, 2-1, and enabled them to secure a rare late comeback.

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"That's a good team over there, and we were able to scratch across four in the last two frames and went ahead and won," Springer said. "I'm happy about the win."

The home run, which was the first hit this season off Siegrist's curveball, snapped Springer's 0-for-14 funk and was his 25th game-tying or go-ahead homer of his career.

Springer's go-ahead long ball

"He had a great night on both sides of the ball," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think he actually hit the ball off [Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright] harder than he did even his home run. He made some exceptional plays on defense. Obviously, the pirouetting throw was as impressive as you get at this level, and he almost got another one. Every time George goes through a little lull, there's an inkling to give him a day off, and these are reasons why you don't do it."

Springer's dazzling throw kept the game scoreless. With Stephen Piscotty at second base and one out, Jhonny Peralta hit a blooper down the right-field line. Springer charged toward the line as the ball dropped, fielded it on one hop, then turned and threw a strike to catcher Jason Castro, who applied the tag on Piscotty.

Springer nails Piscotty at home

"It was up in the air, and I knew that if I ran hard, [Piscotty] would have to at least wait to see what happened, and the closer I got, I understood I was going to have [to decide whether] to dive or not, and just decided not to dive," Springer said. "As soon as the ball was hit, I knew he would have to freeze, so I just spun and threw."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Springer had to make a perfect play, and did.

"He came up and threw it right on the money with his back turned to the field," Matheny said. "It was a good play. We have to try and make something happen there. ... When you're having trouble getting a run across the board, you have to use your instincts. You see that ball down, and you're almost at the base, you're going to try to take a chance."

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.