HOUSTON -- A.J. Reed's reward for getting his first Major League hit? He was told to get into a laundry cart, wheeled into the shower and doused with, among other things, beer, milk, ketchup, syrup, eggs and ice cream. And, man, did it feel good.
Reed snapped an 0-for-16 streak to begin his big league career by hitting a single off the first-base bag and into right field in the fifth inning of the Astros' 5-0 win over the White Sox on Friday, taking some of the pressure of the big first baseman who was selected in the second round of the Draft two years ago out of Kentucky.
"It's kind of a weight lifted off your shoulders," Reed said. "Now I don't have to come to the ballpark and think, 'Today's the day.' I'll go out and relax and have fun."
Reed, a left-handed hitter, likely won't be in the starting lineup the next two games, because the Astros are facing White Sox lefties Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, so the hit came at a good time.
"For a while, he probably felt like there wasn't going to be a hit out there for him," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He had to use the bag. There's a collective exhale for him and everybody around him. We got to have a good time with it."
The Astros made sure the ball was thrown into the dugout as a keepsake for Reed, and teammate Jose Altuve quickly switched the balls and threw another one into the stands. Reed didn't see it though.
"Just to make him a little nervous," Altuve said with a smile.
Reed, called up from Triple-A Fresno a week ago, had a pair of walks, scored twice and drove in a run with a sac fly in his debut Saturday, but in his next 10 plate appearances, he struck out eight times with no walks. He hit .266 with 11 homers, 36 RBIs and 28 walks in Fresno and figures to get a good shot to win the Astros' first-base job.
"The first two series for him have been a lesson in how the league will try to adjust to you based on what they see -- a lot of offspeed pitches, they're messing with his timing and they're going to make him make an adjustment early," Hinch said prior to Friday's game. "I'm excited to keep him in the lineup."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.