HOFFMAN'S 10 QUESTIONS

Houston Astros speedster Tony Kemp answers 10 quick questions

Kemp reveals the best clubhouse food and his favorite drive-thru. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

The 4th Annual George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit drew 450 Astros fans and supporters of Camp SAY: A Summer Camp for Young People Who Stutter, who chipped in $200,000-plus — that’s more than double last year’s haul, and a record for the charity.

It was a pretty good day for Springer all around. Not only did his charity enjoy a mega-successful event, but the Astros finished a sweep of the Chicago White Sox, and he was named to the American League All-Star Team.

The fundraiser was held at Bowlmor Lanes. Celebrities, teammates, and athletes from other sports had Springer’s back. Some were good bowlers, some should never be allowed to rent shoes again. 

Among the local media superstars: Channel 11 weather wonder Chita Craft (her 15-month-old son’s favorite word is “bubbles”), Houston Live host Courtney Zavala, Great Day Houston host and songbird Deborah Duncan, debonair radio ace Michael Garfield, Channel 13 sports anchor (and my former radio co-host) David Nuno, KHOU news anchor Ron Trevino, and Houston Chronicle society reporter Amber Elliott.

Athletic supporters: Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus, Texans alum Chester Pitts, and new Rocket Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — who played his high school ball in America’s garden spot, Elizabeth, N.J. Astros teammates: pitchers Brad Peacock, Lance McCullers, Tony Sipp, and outfield speedster Tony Kemp.

As long as you and I are here, put it there (thanks, Paul) … 10 Questions, Tony Kemp.

Ken Hoffman: When was the first time somebody asked for your autograph?

Tony Kemp: It was my second year in college [Vanderbilt]. It caught me by surprise. I wound up printing my name: "Tony Kemp." 

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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