Gurriel's 1st homer offers glimpse of potential

Gurriel's 1st homer offers glimpse of potential

CLEVELAND -- The power stroke the Astros had been waiting to see from Yulieski Gurriel showed up in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 6-5 loss to the Indians when he walloped a two-run homer -- the first of his career -- off Andrew Miller.

The home run came in the 44th career-bat for Gurriel, who was signed out of Cuba as a free agent by the Astros on July 16. The third baseman has hit well from the time he was brought up on Aug. 21 -- he enters Thursday's series finale batting .318 -- but the power hadn't been there.

"He's a good hitter, and he found the barrel to the pull side against a really good pitcher," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "That was good to see, and he got us back in the game. The game was never out of reach, and it was nice to scratch and claw and make it interesting. This team has no quit in it."

Gurriel turned on a 2-2 slider from Miller that stayed up in the zone and sent the ball towering over the left-field wall. Gurriel knew it was gone, too, and added a subtle bat flip on his way to first base. Gurriel has six RBIs in 14 games in the big leagues.

"I feel happy I got the first one out of the way," said Gurriel, who was able to retrieve the ball. "It's been a little while. I was glad that I was able to drive in two runs but a little unhappy that we fell short."

Gurriel is still feeling his way around the Major Leagues, as well as his new country. Considering how well he's swung the bat overall, the best might be yet to come.

"Little by little, I can make adjustments and start getting accustomed to this league and the pitching," Gurriel said. "Right now, the swing is not like I always have swung. But little by little, we'll start to change it."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for 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.