Another HR, 4 more RBIs: Tucker hot in ALDS
24-year-old Astros outfielder continuing to thrive in postseason
CHICAGO -- Kyle Tucker’s hot postseason run continued on Sunday when he collected four RBIs in his first two at-bats, helping the Astros jump out to a quick four-run lead in Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Though the Astros went on to lose, 12-6, they still hold a 2-1 lead in the series. If they can bounce back to finish it off and move to the AL Championship Series, a lot of the credit can go to Tucker. Consider this a seventh month of what has been a breakout season for the 24-year-old outfielder.
A two-run double from Tucker fueled a three-run Houston rally in the second. He then extended the Astros' lead to 5-1 with a two-run homer in the third, his second long ball of the postseason.
The White Sox stormed back to take a 6-5 lead with a five-run third, but the Astros tied things up on Alex Bregman's RBI single in the fourth. However, that was the Astros' final hit of the night, as the last 16 Houston batters were retired by Chicago's bullpen, with 11 striking out over the final five innings.
Tucker and Bregman were the only Astros batters with multiple hits, and Tucker was the only starter to not strike out. The Astros have scored six or more runs in each of the first three games against the White Sox, but their 16 strikeouts were both a season high and a postseason franchise record.
“We're all very positive in there,” Tucker said. “You know, we know how good of a team we have, and we just try and lift each other up. We're a very positive team. We know how good we are, and we go out there and try to show that.”
Tucker moved up a spot in the order for this game, batting in the No. 6 hole, and through three innings, he had as many extra-base hits as the White Sox had in the series to that point (two). Through the first three games, Tucker is 4-for-12 with seven RBIs.
“[Tucker is] hotter right now, and so I just kind of went with the hot bats,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said before the game. “I don't usually do things without talking to the player first, but we have the kind of players and lineup that we can interchange guys, and that's what we did today just to try to maximize who is swinging the best right now.”
Playing in the postseason for the third time, Tucker has thrived in October, despite less experience than much of Houston's lineup. While some young players have often struggled in the postseason, Tucker has more than risen to the occasion every time, as the former top prospect has lived up to the billing.
In 2020, Tucker slashed .306/.327/.367 in 13 postseason games before the Astros lost to the Rays in the ALCS. He’s picked up where he left off in ‘21, posting a 1.250 OPS through the first three games.
After Game 2 in Houston, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa called Tucker “the best hitter in our lineup this year.”
“It's nice, I mean, everyone in our clubhouse knows how good we are and how each person is really good,” Tucker said. “We have a ton of superstars in there, and for a guy like Carlos, who is one of the best players and best shortstops in the league to say [that] ... it's pretty cool, and it boosts our confidence as well.”