Springer belts homer in third game off DL

Astros outfielder is one dinger short of career high, 29, which was set last year

Springer belts homer in third game off DL

ARLINGTON -- George Springer's first home run since coming off the disabled list, and his first in over a month, was certainly a good sign for the Astros on an otherwise sour Friday night.

Springer, who returned from the disabled list Wednesday after missing two weeks with a left quad strain, stroked his first home run since July 7 in the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss to the Rangers at Globe Life Park. He hit a two-run shot to right field off reliever Jose Leclerc that ended Texas' shutout bid.

"Same as it is always," Springer said. "Just trying to hit the ball hard."

Springer's 28th homer was his fifth of the season in 10 games against the Rangers, and he is now one shy of his career high of 29, set last year when he played 162 games. Springer missed 13 games before coming off the DL, and he was 1-for-10 since his activation before a 2-for-4 game on Friday.

"Obviously, I want to be able to play and perform, so I just have to get back out there and get my game eyes back and help the team," the All-Star outfielder said.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch was encouraged with Springer's stroke at the plate.

"It's going to take him a few at-bats to get his timing back, but that's a good sign," Hinch said.

Hinch on attempted comeback

Springer went 0-for-2 with a walk against Rangers starter Cole Hamels, who held Houston to three singles over seven scoreless innings. The Astros fared much better against Texas' bullpen, rocking Leclerc for three runs and scoring one off Alex Claudio, who struck out Jose Altuve looking to end the game to strand a pair of Astros.

Considering Houston has scored three runs in its previous two games, Springer said the late-inning surge is a good sign for the lineup.

"It's a positive for us," Springer said. "It's a good battle, down six the in the eighth and get the game-winning run up at the plate. That's a good sign. It's a tough loss, but a little bit of a momentum builder for us."

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