George Springer hit a two-run go-ahead homer as the streaking Houston Astros topped MLB World Series champions the Boston Red Sox 3-1.
Springer's eighth-inning home run was the outfielder's 17th of the season, and at the end of Friday's clash, he had raised his slash line to .320/.402/.663.
The 2017 World Series champion and MVP is ninth in the American League in batting average, first in home runs, first in RBIs (42) and first in slugging percentage.
Springer – a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner – has always been a key to Houston's line-up. When A.J. Hinch put him in the lead-off spot in 2015, the Astros' offense truly took off, and when they took him out of that spot to start 2016, the team's hitting struggled.
Now this season, the 29-year-old is leading off and emerging as an early season MVP candidate.
Over the last nine games, Springer is 16 for 36 (.444) with six home runs and 12 RBIs. Not coincidentally, the Astros have won all nine of those games.
It is only May so it is tough to say Springer is a favourite to win the MVP, but it is very possible the outfielder could be the Astros' third different candidate in the last three years following Alex Bregman in 2018 and Jose Altuve, who won the award in 2017.
Bryant leads Cubs
Chicago Cubs infielder Kris Bryant went four for six with three home runs and five RBIs and now has seven homers in his last 11 games. Unsurprisingly, the Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 14-6.
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy is starting to right the ship and he tossed 5.6 innings, allowing just one unearned run in a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill tossed six shut-out innings while striking out 10 in a 6-0 rout of the Cincinnati Reds.
Marlins punish DeGrom
New York Mets' Jacob deGrom gave up seven runs (six earned) on nine hits in five innings of an 8-6 loss to the Miami Marlins.
Gallo with the laser!
Joey Gallo was the first prospect to receive grades of 80 in both power and arm strength from MLB Pipeline. He showed off why with this 95.8-mph missile to nail a runner.
95.8 MPH throw!— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) May 18, 2019
Joey Gallo is just showing off his pic.twitter.com/0Wr8yw0AZv
New York Yankees 4-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers 6-0 Cincinnati Reds
Chicago Cubs 14-6 Washington Nationals
Miami Marlins 8-6 New York Mets
Houston Astros 3-1 Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles 5-1 Cleveland Indians
Oakland Athletics 7-2 Detroit Tigers
Atlanta Braves 12-8 Milwaukee Brewers
Texas Rangers 7-3 St Louis Cardinals
Arizona Diamondbacks 7-0 San Francisco Giants
Toronto Blue Jays 10-2 Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Angels 5-2 Kansas City Royals
Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 San Diego Padres
Minnesota Twins 7-1 Seattle Mariners
Brewers at Braves
Neither of these teams are leading their respective division, but both expect to be in the race at the end of the year. Chase Anderson (2-0, 3.20 ERA) takes on Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.50 ERA) in this one.
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