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King Tuck plays hero with late homer to lift Astros 5-2 over Rays

Kyle Tucker homered off former Astro Brooks Raley to lead the sweep!

MLB: Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Tucker has just been playing on another level during most of the second half of the season, and Wednesday wasn’t the exception. He led the Astros’ comeback to defeat the Rays 5-2 and complete a three-game sweep, thanks to a late, go-ahead two-run home run, his 29th four-bagger of the campaign. That homer came against former teammate Brooks Raley, just the second he’s allowed throughout 2022.

The Astros, whose record is now 99-51, got to the eighth inning losing 2-1, but that changed really quick. Jeremy Peña hit his 19th double to kick off the inning and, after one out, Aledmys Díaz recorded a game-tying singled to drive in Peña with the tying run. Immediately, Tucker swatted his 29th long ball off Raley to put Houston ahead in the score 4-2…

Tucker is now one homer shy of tying his personal best, established last year, when registered 30 dingers.

Later, as an insurance run, Martín Maldonado tied his season-high in home runs with his 14th shot of the year, a solo jack to make it 5-2. Maldo has now homered in two of his three latest games.

Pitching was pretty good once again, with Lance McCullers Jr. throwing seven innings of six-hit, two-run ball and earning his fourth win of the season (4-1). Lance also gave up two walks and struck out eight Rays hitters. From the beginning to the end, it was a pitcher’s duel between him and Corey Kluber. Both lasted on the mound for seven innings.

With the Astros up by one, McCullers Jr. got in trouble in the sixth and seventh innings. During the former, David Peralta made it 2-2 with a grounder. Then, Isaac Paredes got his 20th bomb of the year, a go-ahead solo shot while facing Lance.

However, the Astros bullpen was just so good for the Rays. In the eighth, Rafael Montero took things over and allowed a hit with a strikeout to get his 21st hold. After him, Ryan Pressly pitched a flawless ninth with a walk and a punchout to record his 30th save.

From Thursday to Sunday, the Astros will look for their 100th victory of the season when they visit the Orioles to begin a four-game series. Justin Verlander is expected to start the series opener from Houston while Kyle Bradish will go for Baltimore.