Browns 10, Texans 7

5 observations from the Browns' 10-7 win over the Texans

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The good news? The Texans defense played one of its better games. The bad? The offense played its worst. The result was an ugly, bad weather 10-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Texans fall to 2-7 on the season and there is absolutely zero left to play for in 2020. Five observations from the loss:

1) Deshaun Watson has to be the best quarterback on the field for the Texans to win games. That was barely the case in this one. Baker Mayfield was not good, but Watson missed throws and did not make many plays in key situations. While he didn't turn the ball over, he also did nothing until late in the fourth quarter to get his team points. Watson's two sacks were clearly on him, and he had under 90 yards passing heading into the fourth quarter. The wind was clearly a factor, but great players overcome that. On Sunday, Watson did not.

2) Hey, at least they ran the ball better. Duke Johnson gave the Texans better play at running back than David Johnson did all year. It still wasn't great, but at least he made some plays and had 54 yards on 14 carries. Still not good enough, but at least he was not a complete zero like his predecessor. This has to be a major off-season priority for the team; finding two serviceable running backs. But Duke's performance just underscored how awful David has been.

3) The defense did its part. The Browns were going to get yards on the ground against the Texans because everyone does. They piled up 213 yards on 41 carries and as usual, the defense wore down in the second half and could not stop the run to give the offense one last chance. But holding the Browns to 10 points should have been enough to win the game. J.J. Watt had a solid game, and the secondary had its best performance of the season. It probably helped that Mayfield was inaccurate for most of the contest, but the defense did not give up big plays until Nick Chubb's clinching burst at the end. It should have been enough.

4) Zach Cunningham has become a bright spot. After signing his big deal, Cunningham started off the year in horrible fashion, with bad mistakes, being out of position and stupid penalties. He had a lot of tackles, but many were empty, down-the-field types and he was not being a playmaker. But the last two weeks, he has looked like the player they are paying him to be. He is stuffing plays, flying all over the field and not making mistakes. It's interesting he has played better since Tyrell Adams replaced the injured Bernardrick McKinney. The Texans have very few players on defense that will be part of their rebuilding process. They need Cunningham to be one, and he is starting to look like he can.

5) Romeo Crennel's coaching was a lot like that guy before him. Going for it on fourth down inside the five early in the game proved to be costly when a chippy field goal would have tied the game. Then choosing a field goal on fourth and two late in the game (and of course it was a miss) showed inconsistency in his decision making. Your kicker should be able to make that, but the wind being such a factor, it was 50-50 at best. And for the Texans, it was the wrong side of the coin. And in the first instance on fourth down, the whole world knew the QB draw was coming. They needed a better play call. He also burned two timeouts in the second half that were desperately needed late.

The bottom line: In the end, the Texans and Browns aren't that much different. The Browns are a phony 6-3, the Texans are a well-deserved 2-7, but theses teams are pretty close. Watson should have been the difference for Houston, but in the end, he and the offense did not do enough.

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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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