Kemp makes first MLB start a memorable one

May 19th, 2016

CHICAGO -- Tony Kemp didn't wait long to get the first one in the books.

Kemp, who made his first Major League start -- along with Colin Moran -- in the Astros' 5-3 win over the White Sox on Wednesday, ripped the first pitch he saw in his first at-bat for a double and wound up going 2-for-3 with an outfield assist. He is the first Astros player to get an extra-base hit in his first at-bat since Enrique Hernandez on July 1, 2014.

"It was really nice," Kemp said. "You kind of dream about that moment [when] the team is calling for the ball back in. It was a pretty special moment and something I'll never forget."

Starting in left field and batting ninth, Kemp lined a Mat Latos pitch down the left-field line to push Jason Castro to third in the second inning, and Castro later scored on a Jose Altuve grounder. Kemp blooped a single in the fourth and drew a walk in the eighth, and after the game got a Gatorade shower from Lance McCullers.

"He gets on base," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He doesn't swing at the ball very often, at least [not according to] his track record in the Minor Leagues. He had a good night tonight putting the ball in play. You get rewarded for putting the ball in play, and I've said that time and time again. He does that. When you can get that kind of activity at the bottom when it rolls around to Altuve, [George] Springer, [Carlos Correa], it's certainly something that can make our offense a little bit longer when he gets in there."

Kemp, the club's No. 14 prospect according to, was hitting .298/.410/.405 in 34 games at Triple-A Fresno before being called up on Monday to replace Preston Tucker. A converted second baseman, Kemp also recorded an outfield assist on the first ball hit to him in the first inning, when he threw out Adam Eaton at second trying to stretch a single into a double.

"[Center fielder] Colby [Rasmus] was out there with me all night and he helped me tremendously, and kind of told me to move toward the line with two strikes," Kemp said. "Eaton's bat was a little late on some of those fastballs and he hit one down the line, and I was able to catch it and throw it and Altuve was right there. We were able to stop that double."

Kemp didn't seem too fazed by the moment, and said he realized he was a big leaguer when he ran on the field prior to the game and saw the names "Altuve" and "Correa" in front of him.

"It almost feels like you're playing a video game out there, and it didn't really feel real until they poured Gatorade on me," he said.