Tucker takes Express to three-hit night

Astros No. 2 prospect belts two-run homer, scores two times

Kyle Tucker went 9-for-19 (.474) with five extra-base hits and seven RBIs over the past five games. (Round Rock Express)

By Duane Cross / MiLB.com | May 24, 2019 2:05 AM

Kyle Tucker is having a pretty good year this month.

MLB.com's No. 13 overall prospect went 3-for-3 with his 13th homer, two RBIs and scored twice in Triple-A Round Rock's 11-6 loss to San Antonio on Thursday night at Dell Diamond.

Video: Express' Tucker goes yard

It marked Tucker's third three-hit game of the season. It was his fourth multi-hit effort in the past five games and 11th for the season. His 13 roundtrippers are fifth-most in the Pacific Coast League.

Houston's second-ranked prospect started off with a two-out walk in the first inning against right-hander Jimmy Nelson, then belted a two-run dinger to right field off the starter.

In the sixth, Tucker rolled a one-out single to center off righty Jake Petricka. Round Rock added its final tallies in the eighth as the lefty-swinging outfielder followed Mayfield's one-out homer with a single to left. AJ Reed doubled to advance Tucker to third and he scored on a groundout to short by Drew Ferguson.

The fifth overall pick in the 2015 Draft has turned his fortunes around in May after struggling through April. He ended the first month of the season hitting .173 with nine extra-base hits and nine RBIs. Four games into May, Tucker had equaled his first month's RBI total. By May 14, he had his ninth extra-base hit of the month. After Thursday, his average has climbed to a season-high .266.

Gameday box score

On the heels of totaling 25 homers and 90 RBIs and hitting .272 between Class A Advanced Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi in 2017, the 22-year-old slugged his way to a Major League callup last year. Tucker scorched the Pacific Coast League for 40 extra-base hits, including 14 long balls, and 66 RBIs to earn his first trip to the big leagues on July 7.

He hit .156 in 45 at-bats before being sent back to Fresno on Aug. 1. The Astros recalled Tucker on Aug. 11 and he had one base knock in seven at-bats during that four-game cup of coffee. He went back to Houston on Sept. 16, and down the stretch for the Astros, he had one hit in 12 at-bats. In 28 games with Houston, the Florida native batted .141/.236/.203 with three extra-base hits in 72 plate appearances. He ended the Triple-A season with 24 homers, 93 RBIs and a .332/.400/.590 slash line.

As a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year, Tucker played in 15 games, batting .276 with three extra-base hits in 34 plate appearances.

2019 MiLB include

Tucker jump-started his hot streak on May 2 with a three-hit, six-RBI night against Oklahoma City. Round Rock hitting coach Ben Rosenthal told MiLB.com, "I think being able to show him some deeper metrics that confirm he is/was doing what he needs to do and to stick with it, we're good for him to show up to the yard confident every day."

In the 18 games since, Tucker has not had at least one hit six times and has gone without an RBI eight times.

On Thursday, San Antonio's Cory Spangenberg went 3-for-4 during his first career two-homer game. Petricka (1-1) allowed two hits and struck out four in 2 1/3 innings for the win.

Round Rock's Forrest Whitley (0-3), the ninth-ranked overall prospect, yielded seven runs on six hits with three walks in two innings.

Duane Cross is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DuaneCrossMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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