Houck wins MLB debut, Red Sox blank Marlins
Miami — Tanner Houck gave up just two singles over five innings to win his major league debut, pitching the Boston Red Sox past the Miami Marlins 2-0 Tuesday night.
Houck, the first-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 2017, struck out seven and walked three on 86 pitches. The 24-year-old righty became Boston's 15th starting pitcher this season.
"For me, getting to go out there and get to warm up the first time definitely had the heart pounding a little bit more than usual," Houck said. "It was a surreal moment."
Houck escaped his one threat in the fourth. He walked Matt Joyce and Garrett Cooper before striking out Miami's leading hitter, Miguel Rojas, to end the inning.
"I lost the command a little bit," Houck said. "But being able to come back, throwing a slider and punching him out was a big moment and definitely set me up to go back out there for the fifth."
Houck will have additional opportunities before the season ends to vie for a spot in the rotation next year.
"That's why we have him pitching now to see what he's like and if he would fit in next year," Boston manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's good to get him out there and if we can get him a couple of more (starts) that would be great. We'll see what happens but what a great start for him. If you want to make an impression, he made an impression on all of us."
Jackie Bradley Jr. broke up a scoreless game with an opposite-field double off Miami starter Sandy Alcantara in the sixth. Alcantara (2-2) allowed a leadoff single to Xander Bogaerts and walked Christian Vazquez before Bradley delivered against the playoff-contending Marlins.
"They have a good offensive club over there, and Sandy, sometimes, he's going to give up some hits, right?" Miami manager Don Mattingly said. "You give up one run through six innings, you feel pretty good about it. That pitch to Bradley, it looked like he was trying to get it up and away on him. He just didn't get it there."
The Red Sox increased their lead on Vazquez's run-scoring single in the eighth. Rafael Devers hit a leadoff double, advanced to third on reliever James Hoyt's errant pickoff throw and scored on the hit by Vazquez.
Dylan Covey pitched two perfect innings in relief of Houck. Ryan Brasier followed with a scoreless eighth.
Matt Barnes allowed Brian Anderson's two-out double before striking out Garrett Cooper for his seventh save.
"The guys went out there and did what they had to do on their side of things — swing the bat," Houck said. "And then the bullpen coming in was amazing."
Alcantara scattered five hits, walked two and struck out five in six innings.
Pitching for a cause
With the obvious emotions of appearing in his first major league game, Houck also used the occasion to promote an important cause he values deeply. Houck donated $700 to his Pitch for Adoption Campaign after he pledged $100 for each of his seven strikeouts against Miami. Houck's mother adopted younger sister Reanna when she was 4.
"Having my sister come into my life was a big thing for my whole family," Houck said. "To be able to help her change her life was so inspiring for me. I want to continue to do that for other kids because they are our future. I was lucky to have parents that gave me everything I wanted and helping me get to this and live out my dream. I want to continue to help kids fulfill their dreams."
Red Sox: RHP Darwinson Hernandez (shoulder) showed no ill effects from his bullpen session Tuesday.
Marlins: INF Isan Diaz (groin strain) was placed on the 60-day injured list. Diaz played the first series of the season at Philadelphia but opted out after the team's coronavirus outbreak. Diaz successfully petitioned for reinstatement late last month and rejoined the club Sept. 10. Sean Rodriguez was reinstated from the injured list.
Red Sox: LHP Mike Kickham (1-0, 5.00) will start the middle game of the series against Miami on Wednesday.
Marlins: Rookie LHP Trevor Rogers (1-1, 6.50) looks to bounce back from the worst outing of his young major league career. Rogers allowed eight earned runs and nine hits in three innings against Philadelphia on Sept. 11.
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