OAKLAND -- The two homers by Evan Gattis were nice, but outfielder George Springer's mad dash to the plate in the seventh inning of the Astros' 6-5 win over the A's on Wednesday proved to be perhaps the biggest -- and definitely gutsiest -- play of the day.
Springer doubled with one out in the seventh, moved to third on a wild pitch, prompting the A's to bring the infield in. Yulieski Gurriel hit a grounder to shortstop Marcus Semien, who glanced at Springer holding off third and threw to first for an out. Springer, though, took off and slid home safely ahead of the tag of catcher Bruce Maxwell on a play that was upheld after the A's challenged.
The play gave the Astros a 5-2 lead and a critical insurance run.
"That's a situation there where I was just trying to make a play," Springer said. "I understand they could throw the ball around a little bit and I had some success with that earlier, and I just figured now is the time to take a risk and it worked out."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said his team talked about being aggressive on the bases during the hitters' meeting on Monday and wanted to take advantage of some the A's miscue history. Semien has more errors than any shortstop.
"They've gotten better, but we wanted to put pressure on him," Hinch said. "That play is instinctive. By an incredible athlete, I love the risk there, when he sees the chopper to short. We're not going on contact, he got a secondary [lead] and continued to go down the line and then was waiting on a tentative throw to first base, and once he saw it, he broke quickly. Not many people in the game can score on that. Springer is one of them."
Springer also made a pair of terrific catches early in the game, running a long way into foul territory to track down a Brett Eibner foul ball. An inning later, he raced toward the right-field wall and caught a Ryon Healy fly on the warning track.
"Every 90 feet is big," Springer said. "We've got to find a way to keep doing it."
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.