Dash winless in seven

5 kicks from Houston Dash's 0-1 loss to Chicago Red Stars

Credit: Houston Dash

The Houston Dash fell 0-1 to the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday night. The result extends a winless streak of seven matches and a losing streak to three consecutive.

Here are five observations:

1) Winless without Daly

The last Dash win came on May 11, 2-1 at Utah Royals, thanks to a Rachel Daly double. Coincidentally, that was also Daly's last game played with the team.

Daly was red-carded in that encounter before parting for the FIFA Women's World Cup where she was part of England's run to the semifinals. She served her suspension with this match.

The Dash have drawn three and lost four without Daly. They hope her return in the next match will provide the offensive spark needed to get back to the early season winning ways.

2) Long distance shot was the difference

A shot from outside the box by Chicago's Katie Johnson was the lone goal of the match and all the Red Stars needed to take home the full three points. The opportunity came off a turnover in the 7th minute.

3) Kerr contained

The NWSL scoring leader Samantha Kerr was kept fairly quiet on the night. Renowned as one of the world's best female players, Kerr has 9 goals and one assist this season.

Her last visit to Houston actually started the current Dash slump. Kerr scored twice early in the first half for a 2-1 Red Stars win.

She is regarded as one of the best female players in the world, arguably the best depending on who you ask. Had you told the Dash they would hold Kerr scoreless, they would have taken it and have expected a win.

4) Kizer one for the future

NWSL rookie Cece Kizer was one of the bright spots in the second half. The former Ole Miss soccer star came off the bench to provide a much needed spark in the attack.

While the equalizer never came, Kizer showed speed and tactical ability that could see her earn increased playing time.

5) Sellout crowd announced

The announced attendance for Saturday's match was of 5,327 spectators, the largest for a Dash match this year. The increased crowd is credited to the 713 sales promotion ($7 tickets, $1 hot dogs, $3 beers) and the post-FIFA Women's World Cup boost.

Next match: Saturday, July 20 at Washington Spirit (YahooSports.com)

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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