By Chris Abshire

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) — Heralded Astros prospect Alex Bregman infamously struggled out of the gates, going 2-for-38 start at the plate after being called up to the big leagues three weeks ago.

The former No. 2 overall draft pick got his bat working during the team’s recent road trip by posting a hit in eight straight games. Still, his prodigious Minor-League power on display all year was missing.

It finally showed up on Tuesday night.

Bregman sliced a 1-0, first-inning fastball from Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia just over the wall down the right-field line for his first career Major-League home run.

After a handful of recent warning-track outs, the rookie infielder didn’t get his hopes up with the ball in the air.

“My gauge has been off up here,” Bregman chuckled. “I knew I moved [the runner] over at least, so I was happy I got the job done. But once it went out, it was pretty cool.”

The two-run shot tied the game up after Houston ace Dallas Keuchel allowed a pair of runs in the top of the frame. Bregman, a former LSU standout from neighboring Louisiana, already had five doubles entering the game. He cranked 20 home runs across the Double-A and Triple-A levels in 2016.

His teammates threw a party in the dugout for him afterwards, showing Bregman the fans weren’t the only ones eagerly awaiting his first career dinger.

“They’ve been giving me a hard time about hitting 20 in the Minors but not hitting one up here yet,” Bregman said. “Jake [Marisnick] threw water on me and George [Springer] and all the guys were really excited, so it was cool to see them so happy for that moment.”

The shortstop-turned-third baseman followed the homer with a nifty charge and barehanded snag before recording the out on a perfect throw across the diamond.

“The big numbers on the scoreboard aren’t doing him justice yet because of the first 30-plus at-bats that he endured, but we have a ton of confidence in him,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

“He’s playing an exceptional third base and learning on the fly in the dog days of August, so I’m happy with him for sure.”



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