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Game Recap: Offense Carries Astros to 12-6 Victory in Kyle Tucker’s Debut

It was a special afternoon at Minute Maid Park as the Houston Astros #1 hitting prospect played his first major league game

Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Wow, what a cool day for baseball at Minute Maid Park. After 40,000 strong welcomed Houston Astros top prospect Kyle Tucker to the major leagues, the offense put on an absolute show against James Shields and the rest of the Chicago White Sox bullpen.

Before we get to the main sluggers from this game, let’s take a look at how today’s star of the show, Kyle Tucker, performed in his first game. The first few plate appearances did not go as planned for the rookie, as it seemed Tucker was a bit jittery and fighting off some nerves. You have to give James Shields some credit there also, because the veteran right-hander threw Tucker a couple of nasty breaking pitches to strike him out.

However, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Tucker finally broke through and delivered his first hit, a single that was smoked off the bat and bounced off the glove of White Sox first baseman Matt Davidson before landing in right field. Tucker would later come around to score in the inning.

Then, in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded, Tucker came up to the plate again with a chance to really wow the Houston Astros fans in his first game. While the result may not be as flashy as some fans wanted, Tucker looked like a veteran when he showed great plate discipline and laid off a 3-2 four-seam fastball for a RBI walk. Overall, a first game with your first hit, walk, run scored, and RBI is not too shabby. It’s certainly going to be fun to watch this kid (yes I can say kid because he’s 6 weeks younger than me) develop this season and beyond.

Yes, Tucker was the focal point of today’s game, but other Astros hitters stepped up and raked this afternoon as well. Yuli Gurriel provided the first big hit of the game with his three-run home run into the Crawford Boxes that gave the Astros a 4-1 lead. Later in the game, La Piña would add a RBI single to extend Houston’s lead.

Additionally, Alex Bregman remained red hot over his last few weeks by cranking another home run to left field, his 17th of the season, and giving the Astros an 8-5 lead after Charlie Morton faltered in the top half of the sixth inning.

Charlie Morton started out so strong today, which is why it’s unfortunate that he finished with five earned runs allowed. On the afternoon, Morton had a strong 12.87% whiff rate with 8 strikeouts as his fastball was moving effectively and his breaking ball looked sharp. In the sixth inning, he lost a bit of that command and paid for it when he left too many pitches out over the plate.

From the bullpen, Will Harris got a clutch strikeout in the sixth inning when he relieved Morton and Joe Smith and Collin McHugh turned in solid innings of work. McHugh’s ERA now rests at 0.88 (!!!!) on the season. That’s All Star stuff for sure. Unfortunately, Ken Giles left a fastball out over the plate and gave up a towering home run to Avisail Garcia. That was today’s only blemish from the Houston Astros bullpen.

Tomorrow, the Astros will turn to Dallas Keuchel as they look for the four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox.

Who thinks we’ll see Tucker’s first major league home run tomorrow afternoon against Lucas Giolito (or any White Sox reliever)?