For the last couple of weeks, Kyle Tucker has been the star the Astros need to overcome a shaky beginning to the season. On Friday night, with a 5-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics, Tucker combined with Brandon Bielak’s pitching effort to win Houston’s fifth straight game and its eighth out of the last nine.
The game marked José Altuve’s well-anticipated debut after a long journey on the injured list. The Venezuelan second baseman went 0-for-4 with a walk to open his season.
In the fourth inning, the Astros began their road to the victory. With a tied game at one, Tucker recorded an RBI double to give the Astros the lead 2-1. Two innings later, in the sixth, Tucker attacked again with his seventh home run of the campaign, this time it was a two-run shot that made it 4-1.
Lucky number 7. pic.twitter.com/ILh0LaL9PO— Houston Astros (@astros) May 20, 2023
The Astros scored their final run of the game thanks to a one-run single by Alex Bregman.
But speaking of Tucker, he’s posted a .333/.359/.583 slash line over his last 13 games, with six doubles and two long balls. He’s recorded 12 runs batted in and seven runs scored, plus a .942 OPS. That kind of production is a big reason why Houston has gone 9-4 over since May 5.
On the pitching side, Bielak got his first win of the season with a strong outing against the A’s. He worked five innings, allowing five hits and one earned run while giving up three walks and punching out nine hitters (2.89 ERA).
Although Bielak has allowed plenty of baserunners, he’s got a 1.80 ERA over his last 10 innings (13 hits, three walks in that span).
Red-hot Phil Maton, Rafael Montero, Bryan Abreu, and Ryan Pressly combined to seal the victory with four scoreless innings.
On Saturday (3:10 pm CT), the Astros and the A’s will go on the second game of the series. JP Sears (0-3, 5.27 ERA) will pitch for Oakland while rookie Hunter Brown (4-1, 3.43 ERA) is slated to start for Houston.