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Tucker got Buies Creek on the board in the top of the first with an RBI double, stole third base and scored. The right fielder followed that up in the second with a three-run double and scored again. In the third, he launched a three-run homer as Buies Creek grabbed a 12-0 advantage. Tucker later added a single as his team improved to 8-2 this season.
It was a big game for Tucker, the brother of outfielder Preston Tucker, who has spent time in the Majors with the Astros in each of the previous two seasons and currently is at Triple-A Fresno. The younger Tucker was the fifth overall pick in the 2015 Draft out H.B. Plant High School in Tampa. After playing Rookie ball that year, he reached Class A Advanced Lancaster in ’16 but spent most of the year at Class A Quad Cities, where he batted .276/.348/.402 with six home runs in 101 games.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Saturday:
• No. 19 overall prospect Willy Adames (Rays’ No. 1) is off to a slow start this year, but he hit his first Triple-A home run Saturday in Durham’s 8-6 loss to Gwinnett. Adames, a 21-year-old shortstop getting his first taste at the Minors’ highest level, was batting .103 through his first seven games. But he went 2-for-3 with a walk on Friday, then on Saturday launched a three-run homer in the ninth inning as Durham attempted a comeback that ultimately came up short.
• No. 66 overall prospect Anthony Alford (Blue Jays’ No. 3) connected for his first career Double-A home run, helping New Hampshire to an 8-5 victory at Hartford. Alford added a double and a walk, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and through eight games in 2017 is now 13-for-28 (.464) with a 1.179 OPS.
• Atlanta’s Double-A Mississippi affiliate split two games against Tennessee but got a pair of strong performances from highly touted young pitchers. One of those was Braves No. 8 prospect Max Fried, who bounced back from a tough season debut in which he allowed four hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings. This time, the lefty held Tennessee to one run on two hits and two walks over six frames while striking out four in a 3-2 loss. Meanwhile, No. 73 overall prospect Mike Soroka (Braves’ No. 4), had his second straight strong outing to spur a 3-1 win. The 19-year-old righty struck out seven without walking a batter over 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits.
• No. 89 overall prospect Walker Buehler (Dodgers’ No. 5) was racking up the Ks for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in his start against Lake Elsinore. The righty, a first-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2015, started his outing by giving up two singles and a lineout. He finished it with eight consecutive strikeouts, five of them called. Buehler now has 12 K’s in six innings this year, without allowing an earned run.
• Phillies No. 13 prospect Rhys Hoskins continued his hot start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in a 6-0 win at Pawtucket in the first game of a doubleheader. The big first baseman launched a two-run homer in the first inning and a solo shot in the seventh — both off longtime big league pitcher Kyle Kendrick. Hoskins, who hit 38 homers for Double-A Reading last year, now has three in 2017 and is batting a robust .324/.452/.676. His power surge supported Phillies No. 12 prospect Nick Pivetta, who tossed a seven-inning shutout, allowing five hits and no walks while striking out five. The right-hander now has allowed one earned run in 13 innings this season, striking out 13 without issuing a free pass.
• At Reading last year, Hoskins’ “Bash Brother” was Phillies No. 9 prospect Dylan Cozens, who led the Minor Leagues with 40 homers. Cozens was back at it in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, a 7-6 win over Pawtucket, and he had help from Phillies No. 4 prospect Nick Williams. The IronPigs trailed 5-0 going into the sixth and 6-5 into the seventh and final frame, but Cozens smacked a game-tying solo homer and Williams followed two batters later with the go-ahead solo shot. It was Cozens’ second long ball of the year and the first for Williams, who went 3-for-3.
• Phillies No. 11 prospect Scott Kingery kept up his torrid pace in Double-A Reading’s 7-6 win over Richmond. The second baseman whacked a go-ahead two-run home run in the sixth inning — giving him four homers and 10 RBIs over his past five games — and added three walks. Reading’s leadoff man now owns a .313/.439/.781 line through nine games this season.
• D-backs No. 21 prospect Marcus Wilson was a force out of the leadoff spot for Class A Kane County in an 8-4 victory at Quad Cities. The 20-year-old outfielder, in the DH spot in this one, went 3-for-5 with a pair of three-run home runs, three runs scored and a stolen base. After homering once in 234 at-bats last season, Wilson already has gone deep four times in 10 games in 2017.
• Padres No. 25 prospect Franchy Cordero drove in five late runs with a pair of homers to help Triple-A El Paso top Reno for a 10-5 road win. The Chihuahuas’ leadoff man smacked a two-run shot in the seventh to extend the club’s lead to 6-3, then added more insurance with a three-run blast in the ninth to make it 10-3. Cordero now has four homers and eight RBIs this season.
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