Jose Altuve is back

Altuve returns, Astros start series against Mariners with a win

Jose Altuve's return sparked a big night for Houston's lineup. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After a get-right 3-1 series against the Angels over the weekend, the Astros continued the eight-game homestand on Monday by kicking off a four-game set against the Mariners. Houston hoped to fare better at home against them after dropping two of three in Seattle the last time they met earlier this month. The game also marked the return of Jose Altuve, who would play a big part in Houston starting the series with a win to move back to .500 on the year:

Final Score: Astros 5, Mariners 2

Astros' Record: 11-11, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (1-2)

Losing Pitcher: Justus Sheffield (1-2)

Jose Altuve makes a loud return to the lineup

Jose Altuve, making his return to the lineup after missing time due to COVID protocol, made his presence felt in the leadoff spot by getting on base in Houston's first at-bat in the bottom of the first. He would come around to score the first run of the game on an RBI double by Yordan Alvarez, who would also score on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel, putting the Astros out to the early 2-0 lead.

Altuve would play a part in another scoring play in the bottom of the fourth, getting a two-out two-RBI single to make it a 4-1 game at the time. They scored again in the bottom of the fifth, with Alex Bregman reaching on an infield single and moving along to third to set up a sac fly by Kyle Tucker, extending the lead to four runs at 5-1.

Urquidy goes six while giving up two runs

The one run for the Mariners through those first five innings was a solo home run by Kyle Lewis off of Jose Urquidy in the top of the third. Urquidy was otherwise avoiding damage until a leadoff solo homer by Kyle Seager in the top of the sixth, making it a three-run game at 5-2. Urquidy would go on to finish that inning, but touching the high 90s in pitch count would not go any further. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 96 P.

Houston starts the series with a win

With Urquidy's night done, the first arm out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu, who would toss a 1-2-3 seventh with two strikeouts. Ryne Stanek was next, erasing a one-out single and two-out walk to keep it a three-run game. With it still 5-2 going to the top of the ninth, the Astros would bring in closer Ryan Pressly, who would finish things off to start the series with a win, Houston's fourth in their last five games, putting them back at an even record.

Up Next: This series rolls on Tuesday night with another 7:10 PM start. Marco Gonzales (1-2, 6.04 ERA) will be on the mound for Seattle, while Cristian Javier (2-0, 1.32 ERA) will stay in the rotation for another start for Houston.

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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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