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Former Salem Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck wins major league debut with Boston

Former Salem Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck wins major league debut with Boston

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Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Tanner Houck throws during his win over Miami on Tuesday.

MIAMI — Former Salem Red Sox pitcher 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, pitched for Salem in 2018.

He struck out seven and walked three on 86 pitches. The 24-year-old righty became the first Boston pitcher to win his major league debut since Eduardo Rodriguez threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in his debut in May 2015.

“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 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 his younger sister Reanna when Reanna was 4 and Houck was a freshman in high school.

“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.”

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.”

Houck became Boston’s 15th starting pitcher this season.

He 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.”

Former Salem Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes, who was Boston’s fourth pitcher of the game, got the save. Former Salem Red Sox players Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vasquez drove in Boston’s runs.

“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.”

Bradley 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 former Salem player Xander Bogaerts and walked Vazquez before Bradley delivered against the playoff-contending Marlins.

The Red Sox increased their lead on Vazquez’s run-scoring single in the eighth. Former Salem player 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.

Barnes allowed Brian Anderson’s two-out double before striking out Garrett Cooper for his seventh save.

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