Tucker Debut Highlights Morton's 11th
Astros Clock Sox, 12-6; Increase Lead

Tucker: Debut wasn't pretty
(c) Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle
Everyone on the Astros remembers what they saw of Kyle Tucker this spring in West Palm Beach. The younger brother of Preston Tucker had received comparisons rarely said of top hitters. He seemed like the best player on the team in spring camp but the front office claimed they would be patient and wait until the time was right.

That time apparently came this week after the offense had slowed to a crawl in St. Pete and wasn't in full gear in Arlington. Kyle Tucker got to Houston Saturday and the Astros sent Jake Marisnick down to take his place on the roster.

Perhaps that spark a team gets when they add a major piece to their puzzle filtered through the rest of the clubhouse as Houston's bats sprung to life in a 12-6 slaughter of the Chicago White Sox for Charlie Morton's team-leading 11th win of the season.

It didn't go into the books as the most artistic big league debut you've ever seen. Tucker struck out his first three times up but then ripped a single off the glove of first baseman Matt Davidson in the seventh while many of the 39,568 roared their approval. The next time up, he drew a bases-loaded walk for his first big league RBI.

The Astros pecked away at Sox' starter James Shields and led, 6-1, after five innings, thanks in part to a three-run pop fly into the Crawfords by Yuli Gurriel. Chicago chased Morton in the sixth with four runs to get back into the game at 6-5 but Houston hardly flinched as they produced six more tallies in their final three innings.

Everyone in the Houston lineup had at least one of the 17 hits. Alex Bregman and Max Stassi offered three hits each with Bregman popping his 17th home run as the piling on continued. Gurriel drove in four.

The win was Houston's 60th victory of the season and came in their 91st game as they are just below a pace of winning two of every three contests this season. Seattle lost again to Colorado as Houston's lead in the AL West has sprouted to 3-1/2 games.

The Astros go for a sweep of the four-game series Sunday afternoon when Dallas Keuchel (5-8) gets the start against Lucas Giolito (5-7) who sports a 6.93 ERA. The first pitch is slated for 1:10 pm Central. Surely, the last thing the 30-59 White Sox wanted to see was another hot bat in Houston's lineup. It might have been more sporting to call Tucker up for Oakland, a division rival who is next on the schedule.

- Bob Hulsey