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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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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