Astros lifted over Mariners by two grand slams

Astros daily report: Astros 10, Mariners 6

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros were in Seattle for the first of three games in the big matchup against the Mariners. Here's the breakdown of the game:

Final Score: Astros 10, Mariners 6

Record: 9-5, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brad Peacock (2-0).

Losing pitcher: Shawn Armstrong (0-1).

Stars of the game: Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel both had clutch grand slams which pushed Houston over the top in the win. Altuve's slam flipped the game from a 3-2 Mariners lead to 6-3 Astros lead and extended his streak to four consecutive games with a homer. Gurriel's slam stopped the momentum of the Mariners who had gotten within a run in the previous inning.

Notes: After the Astros went down in order in the top of the first, Wade Miley struggled in the bottom of the inning, giving up a run on three hits and a walk on 41 pitches, all in the first inning. Seattle extended the lead to 3-0 in the second, getting a two-out, two-RBI single to shallow center field, just out of Jake Marisnick's diving grasp. George Springer got the Astros back in it in the top of the third, blasting a two-run homer to trim the deficit to one run. After the first and second inning struggles, Miley's pitch count was high after four innings, resulting in Brad Peacock making an appearance from the bullpen to take over in the 3-2 game in the fifth, keeping the one-run game in play. The Astros did damage against Seattle's bullpen in the top of the sixth, loading the bases for Jose Altuve who continued his home run streak by launching a grand slam to double up the Mariners at 6-3. Seattle would battle back in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one run on a wild pitch from Peacock then getting an RBI groundout to get back within a run at 6-5. Houston wanted to give their bullpen more room to work with, and proceeded to load the bases in the top of the eighth to set up the second grand slam of the night, this time from Yuli Gurriel to make it a 10-5 advantage. Peacock faced one more batter in the bottom of the eighth, then Chris Devenski finished that inning off before continuing in the ninth. After a solo home run from the Mariners along with getting a couple of runners on against Devenski, A.J. Hinch left nothing to chance, going to Roberto Osuna to get the final out to lock up the win.

Up next: After breaking the Mariners' winning streak on Friday night, the Astros will look to lock up the series win and extend their own winning streak to 8 with a win on Saturday night. First pitch will be at 8:10 PM and will feature Justin Verlander on the mound for Houston and Felix Hernandez for Seattle.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

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Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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