It opens as it closes isn't an arcane riddle, it's the best way to describe Alex Bregman's game Monday.
The Astros' top prospect smacked a couple of homers, including a walk-off blast, to lead the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks over the Springfield Cardinals, 5-4, in 12 innings.
Bregman opened the scoring for the Hooks with a two-run homer over the left-field wall of Whataburger Field in the first inning off Corey Baker. After going hitless in his next three at-bats, the 22-year-old shortstop ended the night with a solo blast into left again off reliever Joey Donofrio.
"They were pounding me with fastballs in all day," Bregman said of the game-winner. "So that at-bat, I was looking for a fastball in one spot, middle-in. The first pitch was right down the middle and I took it. I wasn't looking for that pitch, I was looking for something in in that situation. The next pitch he threw me a fastball in and I was just fortunate enough to put a good swing on it."
The second overall pick in last year's Draft has gotten off to a strong start, batting .350 through the season's first five games. Bregman's first home run of the night was also his first in the Texas League after going deep four times as a pro last season. It also marked his first two-homer game as a pro, and as MLB.com's No. 21 prospect was quick to note, his first walk-off homer.
"It's fun, it's a blast," he said. "To be able to do something to help the team, it's a great thing. It was a cool experience; I've never hit a walk-off before. It's fun. You dream about hitting a walk-off homer as a kid, and when you get the opportunity to do it in a professional baseball game, it's surreal. I had a blast."
Serving as the club's designated hitter, Evan Gattis hit his second long ball in four rehab games with the Hooks. Having a player of Gattis' caliber in the lineup has proven to be a boon for the offense and clubhouse.
"It's awesome," Bregman said. "You get to see how he prepares to play, the intensity level he brings to the field every day. He's a very hard worker, great teammate, great guy to be around and I just tried to pick up as much information as I could from him. I just have had a blast with him. I really wish him the best this year as he goes back to the big club."
Lance McCullers, also making a rehab appearance, gave up a run on three hits while striking out four over three innings for the Hooks. Michael Freeman tossed a perfect top half of the 12th to pick up the win.
Bruce Caldwell had a pair of homers and drove in three runs for the Cardinals.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.