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Astros 3, Angels 2 Astros rally to get back into the W's

On Preston Tucker day, a long-anticipated debut was overshadowed by dominant pitching and defense, including a couple Blue Star plays that should be up for ESPYs next year.

It's Preston Tucker Day!
It's Preston Tucker Day!
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Left Fielder Preston Tucker made his major league debut tonight for the Astros, and he tallied a walk and a game-tying RBI single, the first hit of what is sure to be not only a Hall of Fame career, but one that will put his name ahead of the likes of Ruth, Mantle, Cobb, and even Doubleday.

And there's your game recap for Thursday, May 7th 2015.

* * *

Just kidding.  About that last part anyway.  I'll write more of a recap than that.

Frankly, the debut of Tucker would have been the game story, and it certainly was up until about halfway through, before a bunch of kooky hijinks ensued.  Tucker was selected from AAA Fresno after leading the minor leagues in Home Runs (10), and has long been a favorite among the elitist blogging community.  His first plate appearance was inauspicious, just the sort of muted debut one can expect from a humble superstar, a pop-up to first base on the first pitch.

The Astros bats were unable to capitalize on a couple of balks by Angels starter Hector Santiago, who ended up pitching 6-1/3 innings of 1-hit ball, albeit with 4 BB and "only" 5 K's. (It is the Astros, after all.  Only five strikeouts? Weak sauce.)  Additionally, it seemed like the Astros were getting to him all night, though without results to show for it, as there were several hard-hit outs and a double steal by Altuve and Villar.

For the Astros, starter Collin McHugh was his usual dominant self.  He allowed a home run to Mike Trout in the first inning (who doesn't?), then settled into cruise mode.  His final line was 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K in 7-1/3 innings, lowering his season ERA to 3.23.  The second run was earned via Joe Thatcher coming in and failing at his LOOGY role by allowing an RBI single to Kole Calhoun (I always want to type Cole I alone?).  Pat Neshek relieved Thatcher to earn the win before the latter recorded an out, and Luke Gregerson earned his seventh save of the young season.

During the course of the game, the story became the Astros' ridiculous and amusing fielding prowess.  Jose Altuve began perhaps the most fun double play I've ever seen by back-handing a ball with his glove and flipping it to Villar at 2nd in the same motion.  You gotta see the video, it's nearly impossible to describe in words.

Later, Jake Marisnick, center fielder, scored a 8U double play of his own.  That's center field to first base, without throwing the ball. No kidding.  He charged a bloop single by Matt Joyce and miraculously caught it (dat range!).  He then either forgot how many outs there were, or recognized that Albert Pujols, halfway to third from first by that point, had no chance of beating him to first base, and so Marisnick casually trotted in from the outfield and tagged first himself to end the inning on the way to the dugout.  It was fantastic baseball.

The Astros were down 2-0 in the ninth inning, but rallied in typical un-Astros like fashion.  Singles by Colby Rasmus and Chris Carter against Huston Street led off the inning, followed by a Jake Marisnick RBI single with one out, scoring Rasmus.  Preston Tucker then lined a weak single to right field to score pinch runner Robbie Grossman to tie the game, followed by a Villar walk and an Altuve ground out that scored Marisnick for the lead.

In all, it was good for the Astros to get back in the win column after their sweep by the Dallas Lamegers.  The Astros once again lead the American League in Wins and Winning Percentage, and are six games ahead in first place in the division.

I've always wanted to type that.

My first game recap with the Astros in first place, after four seasons with TCB.  Tears are coming to my eyes.  Go Astros!