Houston Astros give up leadoff home run to open 1st game against former star George Springer

Toronto Blue Jays slotted the star centerfielder as their designated hitter for Saturday's game at Minute Maid Park.
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- He walked up, was announced to the cheering crowd, took a few pitches, and then crushed a pitch to right-center.

Safe to say that George Springer, a visitor now, made himself at home in his first ever at-bat against his former club, the Houston Astros, on Saturday.

Springer gave his new club, the Toronto Blue Jays, an early lead to start the second of three games between them in the 'Stros.

Springer, who left Houston in free agency back in January 2021 when he reportedly agreed to a six-year, $150 million deal, was inserted in the lineup for Toronto as the designated hitter and leadoff in the batting order, marking his first ever time facing the team that drafted him.



The limited role kept the former World Series MVP from his regular centerfield duties coming off of a forearm injury sustained earlier this week when he was hit by a pitch.

But he seemed healthy with the blast against former teammate Jose Urquidy inside MMP, extending his home run count at the ballpark. Springer is fifth all-time for most home runs at Minute Maid Park.

The solo round-tripper was one of three runs scored by Toronto on an afternoon in which Houston's only two runs came when Alex Bregman blasted a home run of his own to give the Astros the lead in the bottom half of the first inning.

The two teams were tied at 2-2 when Toronto's Santiago Espinal blasted the go-ahead home run off Houston's Blake Taylor in the seventh inning.

The Astros lost the second game of the series, 3-2, extending their losing streak to four games. This was despite Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker combining for six of Houston's eight hits on the afternoon.

Before this series, Springer, who spent seven seasons with the Astros, never faced Houston in two scheduled series last season due to injury, and he was kept out of Friday's game as a precaution.

Springer was indeed welcomed back to some celebration. Astros players themselves glowed before Friday's game when they offered hugs with their former teammate.



"Always a good time to welcome back George," the Astros posted on Twitter, along with a picture of Springer and Alex Bregman.

And for anyone wondering, Houston potentially gets its first look against similarly departed former star Carlos Correa on May 10 when the 'Stros head up to Minnesota.

The Astros and Blue Jays play one more in Houston Sunday afternoon. The 'Stros may see more of Springer pretty quickly when Houston heads up north for a three-game series starting next Friday.

In the meantime, we've uncovered some of Springer's big moments and big stories during his H-Town days:
Astros player George Springer gave a special fan the gift of a lifetime (from 2019)
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Six-year-old gets gift of a lifetime from Astros' player George Springer



George Springer lends voice to MLB's anti-bullying campaign (from 2018)

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George Springer joins the Shred Hate campaign to help fight bullying.



George Springer helps open refurbished field in Spring Branch (from 2018)
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Astros' George Springer helps open newly redone baseball field



George Springer inspires young fans coping with stutters (from 2017)
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Houston Astro George Springer is inspiring local children as they cope with stutters.



And now for something absolutely precious, we've unearthed photos of Springer from his youth, which was first presented in 2014:

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