Houston has now won eight straight

Astros complete four-game sweep of Rockies to extend winning streak

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After an offensive explosion the night prior, the Astros returned to Coors Field in Denver on Thursday afternoon, trying to complete the dual-city four-game sweep of the Rockies. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Astros 10, Rockies 8.

Record: 15-10, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brooks Raley (1-0, 7.45 ERA).

Losing pitcher: German Marquez (2-4, 4.38 ERA).

Plenty of early offense

After a scoreless first inning, Houston was able to pick up where they left off on Wednesday night, putting up big innings. In the top of the second, Kyle Tucker hit his second triple in the last two games, driving in the first run of the day to give the Astros the early 1-0 lead. They went on to score four more on RBI-singles by Martin Maldonado and George Springer and a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve.

Unlike Framber Valdez, who was able to translate his recent success to Denver's thin air, Cristian Javier would not have as great of a start. After a scoreless first, the Rockies tagged Javier with a two-run home run in the bottom of the second to get some of the runs back that the Astros scored in the top half.

In the next inning, Nolan Arenado cut the lead to two runs with a solo shot, making it 5-3. He would go on to finish the inning, but after two outs in the fourth would give the ball to Dusty Baker as Brooks Raley would come on to end the inning. Javier's final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

Houston reaches double digits again

Like in the second, Houston heated up again in the top of the fifth, starting with back-to-back singles by Altuve and Carlos Correa to start the inning. They would both score thanks to RBI-singles by Maldonado and Tucker, followed immediately by a three-run blast by Abraham Toro, giving the Astros five runs on three swings of the bat and extending their lead to 10-3.

Raley remained on the mound for the bottom of the fifth, allowing a leadoff double by Arenado to become a two-run home run by Ryan McMahon, his second of the game to trim the lead back to five runs at 10-5. He returned to face one more batter to start the bottom of the sixth, issuing a walk before Dusty Baker moved to Josh James.

James would suffer from some sporadic wind blowing the ball around, which caused Josh Reddick to misplay a fly ball that turned into a double, followed by a two-run double to make it a three-run game, 10-7. He would get three of the next four batters out, stranding two runners to end the frame, but would be yet another Houston player to come away injured, coming up hurt while running the last groundout to first base.

Houston completes the four-game sweep

Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen for Houston in the bottom of the seventh, getting the first hitless inning for the Astros by working around a two-out walk. He faced one more batter, leading off the bottom of the eighth, but would allow a single to prompt another call to the bullpen. Enoli Paredes came in and was able to work around a two-out walk to strand both runners and maintain the three-run lead.

After the Astros were retired in order in the top of the inning, Ryan Pressly entered for the save situation in the bottom of the ninth. Pressly allowed a leadoff triple but would limit the Rockies to just one run, finishing off the four-game sweep and extending Houston's streak to eight games.

Up Next: Houston will remain on the road this weekend, traveling to San Diego for a three-game series with the Padres. The opener of the set will be on Friday at 8:10 PM Central with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 5.47 ERA) on the mound for the Astros while San Diego's starter is TBD.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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