The native of The Woodlands, Texas, and University of Houston product made his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Durham on July 28, and he responded with a quality start, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings to claim his sixth win of the season.
"Austin Pruitt was awesome," manager Kevin Cash said. "I know he had a ton of family and friends [here]. He was excited to pitch here, and all the talk about it. But to go out and perform like that had to have been pretty special for him."
Pruitt was called up after Jake Odorizzi went on the 10-day disabled list with a back problem, earning the chance to pitch in front of his hometown crowd with approximately 200 friends and family members watching.
"I tried to avoid them, because I knew if I saw them, I'd start laughing," said Pruitt, who allowed that he showed them "a little love" once he was lifted with one out in the seventh.
Pruitt experienced his first trouble in the third, when Alex Bregman hit a leadoff double and moved to third on Jake Marisnick's bunt. Pruitt fielded the bunt and threw to third, but Marisnick slid in safely to put runners at the corners with no outs.
Pruitt then got busy, striking out Derek Fisher before getting some help from his infielders, who turned an inning-ending double play.
The Astros had two on with one out in the sixth, and Pruitt again put his fate in the hands of his infielders, who turned another inning-ending double play.
"[Catcher Wilson Ramos], he called a great game," Pruitt said. "The defense was fantastic. Had quite a few double plays that got me out of a jam."
Cash attributes Pruitt's success to the way he attacked the strike zone.
"He was committed to that," Cash said. "He doesn't really waver from that, really, ever, since he's been back up here. I think he learned [earlier in the season] that you want to be careful, but the more careful you are, the hitters don't miss the mistakes when you have to come to them. So you're better off just attacking them and getting them into swing mode."
Prior to Pruitt, the last pitcher born in the Houston area to win his first career start at Minute Maid Park was Rays teammate Nathan Eovaldi, then with the Yankees, who earned the victory when New York defeated the Astros on June 26, 2015.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.