Roughnecks 34, Vipers 27

5 Take Aways From The Roughnecks 1st Road Win


QB Talk: PJ Walker will forever be the first name to start off any Roughnecks XFL article. The Houston MVP is a master at escaping pressure with ease and airing the ball all over. A play gone wrong late in the second quarter was turned into a TD by Walker.

On the flip side, Taylor Cornelius is really BAD. I'm pretty sure him and Jameis Winston not only stink it up for Tampa QB reps, but they also share the same eyesight. Accuracy is rare. The Vipers finally decided it was time to put Flowers in. I mean… at least he throws to an actual target, right? The back and forth QB switch up did manage to throw off the Roughnecks D though, I'll give them that.

Defense: Well, Houston officially gave the Tampa Bay Vipers their first TD of the season. Unfortunately, that wasn't their first or worst mistake. The Roughnecks defense looked shaky the entire first half. Okay, that was me being nice. They looked like sh—. Penalties were an issue along with the huge concern when it comes to stopping the run. Quentin Flowers ran all over them. The outside also got burned by the blind QB1/2? A gain of 24 on a 4th down set the Vipers back up for another TD to finish off the third quarter and ice the cake on this defensive performance from Houston.

Lookout: The run game. This has been a struggle for June Jones and the Roughnecks offense all season. There was concern the first quarter but it finally took off. I expected a lot from James Butler this week and that's exactly what we got. I look forward to seeing a lot more of Butler as the season progresses.

Road Games: I don't think traveling on the road was a disadvantage to this team. If anything it was motivation. Going into Tampa against a team that started the season 0-2 was a plot twist. Even for me. We all knew the Vipers would come out playing their best game if they wanted to stay alive at all, we just didn't know they would put on such a good show. This is exactly why the XFL is so fun.

If you're looking for my fifth take away from this game, its simple. Uniforms. Let's take a moment of silence for the disgusting Tampa Bay uni's. Come on.

Your Houston Roughnecks are on the road again next Sunday against the Dallas Renegades at 4pm. We all know how much Houston loves Dallas.

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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