Here's how the Astros can avoid the sting from MLB's draft punishment

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The MLB Draft begins Wednesday and this year it will have a very different look than previous years. There will only be five rounds of the draft, and the Astros have four picks available to them. The Astros won't have their 1st and 2nd round selections because of the punishment they face from MLB, but they do have a compensatory pick at number 72 overall that they received for losing Gerrit Cole in free agency. No. 72 will be their first selection, and they will also have one pick in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds. What's encouraging about this draft for the Astros is who will be making the selections.

The Astros have their new GM in James Click, and he'll clearly have a huge role. But what might surprise some Astros fans is that the two men that ran the 2019 draft when Jeff Luhnow was in charge, are still with the team and working with Click. Charles Cook and Kris Gross. Gross leads the Astros amateur scouting, and Cook was promoted to director of player evaluation last fall by Jeff Luhnow. The Astros definitely have a tough task ahead of them without their 1st and 2nd round picks, but at least they have experienced talent evaluators in the building that learned directly from Jeff Luhnow. Say what you want about Jeff Luhnow, but his resume is elite when it comes to team building and analytics.

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Astros defeat the Brewers, 9-4. Composite Getty Image.

HOUSTON (AP) — Kyle Tucker homered twice to tie for the major league lead with 15 and drove in four runs, leading the Houston Astros over the Milwaukee Brewers 9-4 on Sunday for their ninth win in 11 games.

After striking out in his first three at-bats, Tucker decided to change his cleats from a pair of lime green Astros mascot Orbit-themed ones to his normal orange pair.

“I just didn’t really have great first three at-bats with them,” Tucker said. “I just decided to come in and swap them back out for my other cleats and it ended up pretty well for me.”

Jose Altuve hit his 37th leadoff homer in a four-run first inning and Jake Meyers had three hits for Houston, which took two of three from the Brewers and improved to 21-26 with its third straight series win.

“You’ve just got to pile up wins, especially series wins, throughout the year,” Tucker said. “At the end of the year it will be what it is.”

Tucker hit a solo homer to right in the sixth off Thyago Vieira and a three-run, opposite-field drive to left in the seventh against Mitch White.

“He’s playing on a different level right now,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “He’s a really, really good player.”

Tucker tied Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson at 15 home runs after his third multi-homer game this season and the sixth of his big league career.

“I just try to get pitches over the plate and try and barrel them up and they just happen to fall for homers,” Tucker said. “It’s not like I’m trying to lift the ball and start hitting them. It just kind of comes with pitch selections and trying to barrel balls to the outfield.”

Rookie Spencer Arrighetti (2-4) won his second straight start after going 0-4 in his first five. He allowed four runs and six hit with six strikeouts and two walks over 6 1/3 innings, his big league high.

“I think my general presence is getting a little better,” Arrighetti said. “Obviously, that team runs really well and I gave up a couple stolen bases, but as soon as that happened I feel like I was able to make a good adjustment with controlling the running game a little bit and still being able to execute pitches while doing that.”

Colin Rea (3-2) gave up five runs, eight hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.

“He didn’t have command of his stuff and Colin’s a command pitcher,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said.

After Christian Yelich’s RBI single in the first, Houston went ahead for good on Altuve’s homer, Jon Singleton’s run-scoring groundout and Meyers’ two-out, two-run double.

Brice Turang had a two-run single in the seventh and scored on Yelich’s single.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: LHP DL Hall (knee) pitched one inning and struck out one for Class A Wisconsin on Sunday in a rehab start.

Astros: OF Chas McCormick (hamstring) went 2 for 4 with a single, double and a stolen base as the designated hitter for Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday. Ryan Pressly (sore finger) threw a bullpen on Sunday. He has not pitched since Tuesday.

UP NEXT:

Brewers: RHP Joe Ross (2-4, 4.61) starts for Milwaukee against LHP Ryan Weathers (2-4, 3.81) on Monday to open a three-game series at Miami.

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (3-1, 2.95) starts for Houston at home on Monday in a series opener against LHP Reid Detmers (3-4, 5.19) and the Los Angeles Angels.

BY JOSHUA KOCH

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