Astros power past Rangers in extra innings

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 7-6 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After the demoralizing loss on Friday night, the Astros were desperate to turn the page to a new game and put the issues of the past two games behind them and get back in the win column. Here is how Saturday's game played out:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 7, Rangers 6.

Record: 58-35, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Josh James (4-0, 4.91 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brett Martin (1-1, 5.34 ERA).

1) Another offensive back-and-forth early

The Astros tried to set the momentum in their favor early by making an offensive statement in the top of the first. George Springer started the game by working a walk, then Jose Altuve followed with a single. Alex Bregman moved both of them forward a base with a groundout, setting up a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley to make it a 1-0 Houston advantage. Yordan Alvarez followed that up with an RBI-double, extending the lead to 2-0 and starting this game right where he left off in his two-homer game the night prior.

The Rangers responded right away, though, getting back-to-back solo home runs off of Wade Miley in their first two at-bats to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first inning. Brantley put the Astros back in front with his second RBI of the night in the top of the third, an RBI-single to make it 3-2.

Texas once again wasted no time getting more runs of their own, taking advantage of several errors in the bottom of the third. The miscues extended the inning, allowing them to score a run on a sacrifice fly along with a go-ahead run after the ball got away from Max Stassi at home and ended up in a camera well, giving the Rangers the lead at 4-3.

2) Bregman makes his presence felt 

Alex Bregman, after missing Friday night's game as a result of the ground ball that struck his face on Thursday night, was back in the lineup on Saturday. He quickly shrugged off the defensive error he had earlier in the game, hammering a game-tying solo home run in the top of the fifth to even the score at 4-4.

After getting Mike Minor out of the game after five innings, Houston went to work on the Rangers' bullpen in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with one out. They'd get the go-ahead run on an error by Texas, taking a 5-4 lead, but would miss a chance to add more with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

3) Rangers tie it up to end Miley's night on sour note

Wade Miley didn't have as bad of a start going as it would appear going into the seventh inning. While he did start his night off in the worst way possible with the two solo home runs in the bottom of the first, the multitude of errors in the third made those runs he allowed unearned.

He did well after that rough third inning, getting through the next three innings with just one hit allowed. He took a high pitch count into the seventh with a 5-4 lead but would get stung with a one-out solo home run which allowed the Rangers to re-tie the game at 5-5. He would get one more out before A.J. Hinch would make the call to the bullpen. Miley's final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 HR.

Will Harris would be first out of Houston's bullpen, and he finished off the seventh with a strikeout.

4) Astros pull ahead in extras

Houston had a chance to go back in front in the top of the eighth, getting a two-out triple from Jake Marisnick. They'd watch that opportunity slip away, though, but Ryan Pressly would throw a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to set up another chance in the ninth.

The Astros had the heart of their order up in the top of the ninth, but it would take a two-out single by Michael Brantley to get a baserunner aboard. They would pinch-run Myles Straw for Brantley, but he would get picked off at first to end the inning.

Josh James took over on the mound on the bottom of the ninth looking to send the game to extra innings. He would do so, getting a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. The Astros were aggressive in the top of the tenth, but it would not pan out for them, and instead resulted in a five-pitch inning for Texas who would get another chance to walk it off. James was able to extend the game one inning further, though, with another scoreless inning including two more strikeouts.

In the top of the eleventh, George Springer worked a walk after two quick outs before him. Jose Altuve was next and powered a ball into left-center field deep enough to score Springer from first, putting Houston ahead 6-5 with an RBI-double. Altuve was able to advance to third during the play, which after an intentional walk to Alex Bregman set up an RBI-single by Myles Straw to extend the lead to 7-5.

Roberto Osuna came in to close things out in the bottom of the eleventh and would do so but not before struggling to get the final out. The Rangers would get a two-out RBI-single to trim the lead to one but would come no closer as Osuna would finish off the win.

Up Next: The Astros and Rangers will wrap up this four-game set tomorrow with the first pitch of the finale scheduled for 2:05 PM. Houston will send their ace, Justin Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA), to the mound to face Ariel Jurado (5-4, 4.23 ERA) for Texas.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March. Photo via: NRG Park/Facebook

Football players, coaches and general managers have come and gone, but only one person has been running the business side of the Texans, well, even before they were the Texans. Jamey Rootes has been President of the Houston Texans since 1999, when an NFL team in Houston was still just a gleam in owner Bob McNair's eyes. That's before the team adopted the name "Texans" in 2000, before there was NRG Stadium, which opened as Reliant Stadium in 2000, and before they became serial champs of the AFC South, six titles between 2011-2019.

The precise date was Oct. 6, 1999 when NFL owners voted 29-0 to award the NFL's 32nd and newest franchise to Houston. Not only that, Houston was awarded the 2004 Super Bowl. Rootes, 34 years old with no NFL experience, had his work cut out for him. Before taking the job in Houston, Rootes was team president, general manager and CEO of selling peanuts and popcorn for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Major League Soccer, with all due respect, is not nearly a national obsession like the National Football League.

"I wasn't intimidated," Rootes said. "There's a quote that I love, 'Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.' I've always been a purpose-driven person. As for the step up to the NFL, I went from knowing nothing at the start of my time in Columbus to five years later thinking, OK, I've got this sports thing down. Actually, I had a very significant reduction in my responsibilities in Houston. When I was in Columbus, I ran the stadium, I ran the team's business, I was the general manager so I did the talent side of it, too. When I came to Houston, all I had to do was the business, so that was great."

Rootes has captured his remarkable journey from the soccer team at Clemson to grad school at Indiana University to the business world at IBM and Proctor & Gamble to the Clemson Crew, to ultimately being named President of the Houston Texans in his new book, The Winning Game Plan: A Proven Leadership Playbook for Continuous Business Success, available next week.

I've known Rootes from his day one with the Texans, but I still had to ask: everybody knows what the general manager does, and what the head coach does. What exactly does the President of an NFL team worth $3.3 billion do?

"I like to use the parallel of a pharmaceutical company to describe my job. There are two sides to that company. First you put scientists in one building and you leave them alone. They create products, which is what our football team is. The football side has a coach and general manager and all the people who prepare the team to play on Sunday. But getting that product to market is done by the business side, traditional business disciplines. Those are the things that fall to me. Basically, everything between the white lines is run by the football side. Everything outside of those lines, I do," Rootes said.

Between 1999 and 2002, when the Texans played their first game (let the record show the Texans defeated the Dallas Cowboy, 19-10), the team was essentially a massive start-up project. First orders of business for Rootes involved building a new stadium, developing relationships with suppliers, contractors and government officials, preparing for a Super Bowl and, most important, developing a relationship with fans.

Rootes began writing The Winning Game Plan last March, but it's really an accumulation of lessons learned and behind-the-scenes stories about building the Texans from scratch into one of the most admired and valuable franchises in all of sports.

"I've always been a meticulous note-taker. I've kept every presentation I've ever done. I took all of my notes and concepts and put those down on paper," Rootes said. "To be a good leader, you need a wild imagination. You can show me a blank piece of paper, but I don't see it as blank. To me, it's a finished product that hasn't been created yet," Rootes said.

Rootes lays out his leadership strategy in seven chapters: Are You a Manager or a Leader, Get the Right People on Your Team, Build a Winning Culture, Create Raving Fans, a Winning Playbook for Adversity and Success, Your Leadership Playbook and Play to Win.

He learned lesson No. 1 the hard way. A friend once counseled Rootes, "your staff doesn't like the way you're all up in their business, you need to back off." Rootes took that advice to heart.

"It was an epiphany. I wasn't a leader. That's when I truly began thinking about leadership. I say this all the time, I don't do anything. All I do is create an environment where exceptional people can be their very best self. I know what's going on. I'm fully informed. I leave every game day exhausted. I get there early. I do the things I need to do. I kiss babies. I shake hands. I present checks. I entertain clients. I'm dialed in. It absolutely wears me out because I love this organization so much. I am so proud of what we've been able to do for this great city of Houston."

I asked Rootes, as someone who lives for Game Day and a packed NRG Stadium, are you devastated by 2020, the year of COVID-19 and small crowds limited by Centers for Disease Control guidelines?

"I don't look at it that way. I think there's a song by 10,000 Maniacs that said, these are the days that you'll remember. I told my staff, I know you're all going through hell right now, but later on in life, you'll talk about this year. Things that are important are memorable, for the positive and those things that leave a scar. You learn from adversity and you're a better person for enduring it. Victor Frankl said 'We can discover meaning in life in three different ways, by creating a work or doing a deed, experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.' Suffering is part of life. He should know, he survived a Nazi concentration camp," Rootes said.

H-E-B President Scott McClelland wrote the forward to The Winning Game Plan. Rootes dedicates the book to late Texans owner Bob McNair. Rootes' book is a fun read. All I kept thinking was, where was this book when I needed it? And before you buy too much into Rootes as a leader, consider that Rootes admits that he had to ask for wife Melissa's permission before he could accept the Texans job.

Personal note: I believe that a big part of leadership is the ability to keep a promise. Several years ago, I was riding my bicycle with my dog Lilly on a leash. It was the only way I could keep up with her. Well, one time Lilly saw a squirrel and pulled me off my bicycle. I tumbled a few times and rolled next to the curb. When I looked up, there was Jamey Rootes. I told him, "There's no need for you to tell anybody about this." He never said a word.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome