Astros complete the sweep with a walk-off win

Astros daily report: Astros 9, A's 8

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston was going for the sweep against the A's on Sunday. Here's how the long, crazy game went down:

Final Score: Astros 9, A's 8

Record: 5-5, third in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Roberto Osuna (1-0).

Losing pitcher: Blake Treinen (0-1).

Star of the game: The entire batting order contributed in Sunday's game in some fashion or another, whether it was a timely walk or a big home run. Alex Bregman went 3 for 4 with the huge sac fly that tied the game 8-8 in the eighth, Aledmys Diaz had four RBIs, but it was Jose Altuve who played hero, working the walk-off walk to win the game.

Notes: Peacock struggled heavily in the first inning, loading the bases with no outs. After a lucky and timely double play to keep the hopes of a scoreless inning alive, a high fly ball hit the roof and landed fair to score two runs, giving Oakland the early 2-0 advantage. The Astros created their own luck in the bottom of the inning, getting back-to-back RBI singles from Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa to tie the game before Aledmys Diaz pulled a ball to opposite field, enough to deflect off of Stephen PIscotty's glove and into the stands to make it a three-run home run and give Houston a 5-2 lead. The scoring continued in the second, with the A's getting a two-run homer to trim the lead to 5-4 before Houston battled back in their half of the inning, loading the bases before walking in a run to end Mike Fiers' day in just the second inning with the Astros up 6-4.

The scoring would slow down a bit in the innings after that, though the A's did get back to within a run with an RBI-double in the fourth to make it 6-5. Peacock managed to complete five innings before his day was done, allowing five runs on seven hits along with a walk. Josh James was first out of the bullpen in the top of the sixth and allowed Oakland to regain the lead after a two-run home run put them ahead 7-6. James would return for a scoreless seventh, then Hector Rondón took over in the eighth, allowing a solo home run to extend Oakland's lead to 8-6. Tony Kemp came through in the bottom of the eighth, getting a solo homer of his own to get Houston back within one at 8-7 before Alex Bregman would get a sac fly later in the inning to tie things up heading to the ninth. Roberto Osuna pitched the top of the ninth and retired Oakland in order, then the Astros got to work in the bottom of the inning to get the bases loaded for Jose Altuve who came through with the walk-off walk to win the game.

Up next: The Astros will stay in Houston and continue the six-game homestand tomorrow night with the first of three games against the Yankees getting underway at 6 PM. We'll get to watch the aces of both teams go head to head as Justin Verlander takes the mound for Houston opposite of Masahiro Tanaka for New York.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

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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