On a night in which the Astros’ embattled bullpen delivered five scoreless innings, George Springer arguably got the most redemption Friday at Minute Maid Park. By the time he strolled to the plate with the bases loaded in the 11th against the Mariners, the Astros’ prized rookie right fielder had already struck out four times and gone 0-for-5. He atoned with the first walk-off hit of his career, chopping a single off the third baseman’s glove to beat the Mariners 5-4 before a crowd of 15,771. “I’ll give this to my dad,” Springer said as he dug the walk-off ball from his locker stall. “I’ll save it and give it to my dad. This is for them. This is the first, and it’s not going to be the last one. I promise.” Although the Astros were 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the opener of a three-game series, they got plenty of clutch performances to extend the game long enough for Springer to win it. Jose Altuve greeted Seattle lefthander Charlie Furbush with a leadoff single up the middle in the 11th. Dexter Fowler followed with a bunt single down the first base line, reaching safely as Furbush failed to make a play near the line. Carlos Corporan then dropped a sacrifice bunt down the left side, loading the bases on a fielder’s choice after Furbush attempted unsuccessfully to get Altuve at third. “When you start to look at those break points it’s that type of execution that puts you in position to win the ballgame,” manager Bo Porter said. “Obviously Altuve with the big base hit to get it started and then Dexter Fowler with a great team at-bat, Corporan with a great team at-bat. “When you look at that overall situation, yes Corporan got the bunt down but it’s Altuve’s secondary lead and his ability to, one, read the bunt down and attack the bag at third base to make that all possible. From a fundamental standpoint everybody did their job.” Springer took care of the rest once his teammates executed to load the bases. “I hit it and I saw it and I just said, ‘Please get over his head,’” Springer said. “I guess I hit it high enough just enough to hit off his glove. Then I saw him score and that was it.” The bullpen, which entered the series with the worst ERA in the majors, definitely came through. After Jose Cisnero threw two-thirds of an inning, lefthander Tony Sipp stranded the two runners he inherited from Cisnero and delivered 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in his Astros debut. Jonathan Villar hit an RBI groundout to the pitcher in the eighth to tie the score at 4. Chad Qualls took care of the final two outs in the top of the ninth, and righthander Anthony Bass (1-0) added two scoreless innings for the victory. “It definitely was a good overall effort,” Porter said. “You look at those guys down there and we just continue to tell them, ‘When your name is called, come in and do your part. Don’t try to do more than that. Just come in and do your part.’ “And tonight is a prime example of each one of those guys, from Cisnero to Sipp to Bass to Qualls, they just came in and did their part. And that’s a great result.” The Astros were 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position heading into the ninth as Marc Krauss accounted for both of those with RBI singles. Krauss gave the Astros a 3-2 lead in the fifth, but the Mariners countered with two runs in the sixth off starter Brad Peacock to take a 4-3 lead. Three innings later, Alex Presley drew a one-out walk off righthander Yoervis Medina. Matt Dominguez put runners at the corners with a bloop single to left. Villar tied the score at 4 with an RBI, groundout to the right side of the mound. Three innings later, Springer delivered his first walk-off hit in the majors.
Springer drives in game-winning run as Astros top Mariners in 11 innings
Houston Chronicle | May 3