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Astros take series opener 7-5 against A’s behind King Tuck’s slam

Tucker hit a clutch grand slam to cap the Astros’ six-run fifth inning!

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros keep showing why they’re a postseason team. On Friday night, they faced three of Oakland’s best relievers and were able to come up with the win on a 7-5 score. Despite being down 2-0 until the fifth inning, Houston came back with a six-run rally to defeat the Athletics in the series opener. Kyle Tucker’s third career grand slam was the key hit.

Astros starter Luis García didn’t enjoy his best outing, but he did what he could to keep the team’s chances at acceptable levels until the offense was able to react in the fifth. García took his ninth win of the season (9-8) with another strong run-support showing from the entire team.

Ironically, opponent starter Adam Oller quickly recorded the first two outs of the fifth after dominating Christian Vázquez and Mauricio Dubón, though things got complicated right after that. With the A’s up by two, José Altuve hit his 25th double of the season and Yuli Gurriel brought him home to make it 2-1. Immediately, Yordan Álvarez singled and Alex Bregman was walked to leave the bases. Seconds later, BOOM! Tucker launched his grand slam over the right-field fence to put the Astros ahead 5-2.

Later in that inning, Jeremy Peña hit an RBI double (13) to give the Astros a four-run lead (6-2). Peña finished the game 3-for-4, his first performance of at least three hits since July 3 – since then, Peña was slashing .179/.208/.301 prior to Friday’s game.

Regarding Tucker, the Astros right-fielder is nine for his past 20 at-bats, good for a .450 batting average. Over that period, across six games, the 25-year-old has two doubles, two homers, and nine runs batted in.

With García gone after six innings of eight hits and four runs, Will Smith allowed an earned run over two-thirds of an inning. Then, Ryne Stanek gave up two hits and two walks but didn’t allow a run. And, lastly, Héctor Neris –not Ryan Pressly as he’s dealing with a sore neck— got the final three outs of the game to get his second save of the season.

Saturday will mark Lance McCullers’ return and 2022 long-anticipated debut after a long rehab. The right-hander is set to face lefty Zach Logue in a game that could mean a lot for the Astros thinking in the long run. See ya at MMP!