Astros drop the middle game to Toronto

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 6-4 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros started Saturday on top of MLB's overall standings after a win in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night. They looked to keep pace with the Yankees and Dodgers with another victory in the middle game to secure the series. Here is a quick rundown of Saturday's game from Toronto:

Final Score: Blue Jays 6, Astros 4.

Record: 88-49, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Clay Buchholz (1-3, 5.45 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-7, 5.55 ERA).

1) Valdez digs a big hole

Houston's offense had an efficient start to the game, getting back-to-back hits to start the game with runners on first and third. Alex Bregman scored the first run of the afternoon on a sacrifice fly, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

After winning the battle against the Blue Jays in the first two innings, Framber Valdez would struggle in the third inning, allowing two one-out walks followed by an RBI-single and a two-run home run to put Toronto ahead 3-1. In the fourth, a two-out single would turn into a two-run home run, extending the lead to 5-1.

Valdez would continue on the mound trying to keep Toronto from adding to their lead, and did so through two outs in the sixth inning when a single would end his day as he was over 100 pitches. Joe Smith was brought in from the bullpen to try and finish the sixth but instead would allow Valdez's sixth run of the day. Valdez's final line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

2) Astros score some, but not enough

Houston was able to get a couple of runs back in the top of the sixth, getting two two-out walks to set up a two-RBI doubly by Yuli Gurriel, which made it 5-3 at the time.

After Toronto tacked on one more run to push the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Houston was able to load the bases in the top of the seventh with one out. After a groundout kept the bases loaded with two outs, Alex Bregman was able to work a walk to score a run to make it 6-4. Toronto's bullpen would win the battle though, striking out Yordan Alvarez to end the threat.

Joe Smith, who completed the sixth for Valdez, remained on the mound for the bottom of the seventh and worked around a two-out walk to keep the game 6-4 going to the eighth. Houston had another chance in the top of the ninth with the tying runs on base but again came away empty. Cy Sneed was next out of Houston's bullpen and threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, but Houston would come up empty yet again in the top of the ninth, dropping the middle game and falling behind the Yankees in the standings.

Up Next: The series finale between Houston and Toronto will start on Sunday at 12:07 PM. The pitching matchup will be Cy Young leader Justin Verlander (16-5, 2.69 ERA) on the mound for the Astros opposite of Wilmer Font (2-1, 3.86 ERA) for the Blue Jays.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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