Top prospect Jarred Cosart made his MLB debut for the Houston Astros on Friday night, giving hope that the worst team in baseball has a bright future ahead of it.

Cosart was nearly flawless against the Tampa Bay Rays, throwing eight shutout innings and allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out two en route to his first big league win.

Cosart’s debut was nearly historic as well, as he took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning.

Cosart got a bit of help along the way from center fielder Brandon Barnes, who made an incredible catch in the sixth inning. Right fielder J.D. Martinez couldn’t come up with the ball in right-center field, but Barnes never took his eye off the play and made a diving catch during which he adjusted in midair to preserve the no-no.

Cosart eventually surrendered his first hit to Ben Zobrist in the seventh inning on a hard line drive.

Cosart is the first Astros pitcher to last more than seven innings without surrendering a run in his MLB debut.

Cosart pitched eight strong innings before being pulled. He had thrown 96 pitches up to that point, and Astros manager Bo Porter decided against taxing his young arm for the final three outs.

Cosart didn’t exactly ease into big leagues with his first start. He had to face the Rays, who are contenders for the playoffs. What’s more, Cosart was pit in a pitching duel against Rays ace and 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price, and he still came out on top.

The Astros acquired Cosart from the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2011 trade deadline in exchange for Hunter Pence.

Cosart looks like a solid building block for the starting rotation, joining 2013 No. 1 pick Mark Appel and several other top quality pitching prospects as reasons for optimism in Houston over the future of the franchise. 

Sure, the Astros are just 33-59 after the win on Friday, but the team has one of the best farm systems in baseball, and Cosart is just the first of many they hope will help boost the team out of the doldrums.

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