Blast off: Astros' Lee connects for three homers

August 24th, 2022

With his club beginning a road trip in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, it's only appropriate hit the jackpot.

With a final score befitting a football game, the No. 7 Astros prospect left his mark by homering three times and driving in a career-high five runs to power Triple-A Sugar Land past Las Vegas, 23-8 at Las Vegas Ballpark. The Space Cowboys cleared the fences a franchise-record nine times and tallied 21 hits, 12 for extra bases.

Lee became the fourth Sugar Land player to achieve the feat and the second this season. Enmanuel Valdez left the yard three times against Round Rock on June 15. 

All told, it was the 24th time this season a Minor Leaguer has hit three or more homers in one game.

The Space Cowboys were already two long balls into their power-packed night when Lee stepped to the plate for his second at-bat in the third inning. The 24-year-old joined the party with a thre-run jack to center field to cap a seven-run frame and added solo homers in his next two at-bats in the fourth and sixth.

Due to Sugar Land's offensive onslaught, Lee had two more opportunities for a fourth home run, but he struck out and flied out. The game marked the first multihomer performance of his career, which began in 2019 after he was selected 32nd overall that same year out of Cal.

Although the California native has gone deep a career-best 17 times in 2022, including seven this month, it's been a season of adjustments. Lee endured a rough start to the season and was hitting .201 heading into June. A solid start to the summer helped the backstop earn his first taste of Major League life with a July 1 promotion to Houston. Lee spent the entire month of July in the bigs, going 4-for-25 with four RBIs in 12 games before he returned to Sugar Land on Aug. 2.

His power (four homers) and run production (13 RBIs and nine runs) have been strong since he was optioned, but he began Tuesday night slashing .173/.283/.404 with 20 strikeouts in 52 at-bats in August. His performance against Las Vegas lifted his average up to .222 and his OPS to .737.

Lee enjoyed a breakout season in 2021, slashing .277/.340/.438 with 30 extra-base hits, 11 roundtrippers and 48 RBIs in 88 games across three Minor League levels, including a nine-game cameo with the Space Cowboys to close out the year.