Astros get the walk-off win in extra innings

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 4-3 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Back at home after a 6-1 road trip including the 14th inning win over the Mariners on Thursday, the Astros looked to open a homestand on a good note with a victory in the first of three games against the struggling Orioles. Here's how Friday night's game went:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 4, Orioles 3.

Record: 44-21, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cionel Perez (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Branden Kline (1-3, 5.89 ERA).

1) Bad start, great finish for Cole 

Gerrit Cole started his night with a near-disastrous first inning, allowing Baltimore to score two quick runs in an inning with an error hit batter, and two hits which gave the Orioles an immediate 2-0 lead. Cole would get dinged again in the third after a solo home run extended the deficit to 3-0.

Cole would lock in and dominate after that, though, allowing just one hit the rest of his night, a night where he would throw 113 pitches over seven innings and hit a season-high in strikeouts. His final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14K.

2) Reddick and Kemp tie it in the fifth, Chirinos walks it off in the eleventh

After a slow offensive start and watching the Orioles build a 3-0 lead, Josh Reddick finally broke through in the fifth inning with a leadoff solo home run to trim the lead to 3-1. One out later, Tyler White worked a walk before Tony Kemp connected and launched a two-run bomb into the upper deck in right-field to tie the game at 3-3.

After missing their chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth and tenth, Houston would eventually get the walk-off in the bottom of the eleventh on an RBI from Robinson Chirinos.

3) Cionel Perez supports a fatigued bullpen 

After logging a lot of innings on the recent road trip, including the 14-inning game in Seattle on Thursday, the bullpen looked to keep Baltimore off the board and give Houston's offense a chance to go-ahead. Hector Rondon took over for Gerrit Cole in the eighth and worked around a two-out single for a scoreless inning.

Cionel Perez, who was called up after Brady Rodgers was optioned down to AAA, was called on for the ninth inning and was able to retire the Orioles in order. After the offense came up empty in the bottom half of the inning, Perez returned for the top of the tenth and would make it back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. He'd return for another inning in the eleventh making it nine batters sat down in a row and setting up the Astros for their eventual walk-off.

Up Next: Houston and Baltimore will continue this series tomorrow with a Saturday afternoon game starting at 3:10 PM. With Corbin Martin's move back to AAA, Framber Valdez (2-2, 3.12 ERA) will get at least one start in the rotation as Houston tries to fill the starter spot on the roster originally vacated by Collin McHugh. He'll go up against Andrew Cashner (6-2, 5.04 ERA) for the Orioles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Should Watson be in the MVP conversation? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The 2020 NFL season has a lot going on. Even if we take the coronavirus out of it, there's still a lot to digest. There are so many great performances being put up, one can make an argument for several players to win league MVP. The quarterback position typically gets more credit than others. If I restrict the argument to quarterbacks only, we're looking at Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers. Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Derrick Henry are the leading contenders at running back. On defense, there really isn't a standout defender. The defense gets no love, but there are several guys in the running for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Deshaun Watson has been putting up numbers that have matched or rivaled some of the top MVP candidates over his last seven games. That stretch has coincided with the firing of head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien. Coincidence? I think not. Taking the reigns off a wild horse can often lead to said horse running free and flourishing! So question: Should Watson be getting league MVP considerations? I think so.

For starters, he's been one of the best players in the league over the course of the last seven games. 18 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions. The only quarterback with a better touchdown to interception ratio over that same span is Mahomes (19 and 2, as opposed to Watson's 18 & 2). Factoring in total season stats, of course Mahomes is doing much better. He's on a better team with a much better coach and general manager. The same could be said for Wilson and Rodgers. Put Watson on any of those teams and their records wouldn't be any worse than what they are now.

The Texans are 4-3 since firing O'Brien. While that isn't a great record, consider the fact they started the season 0-4 and looked like a total disaster. Watson looked like he was caged and couldn't wait to be freed. The team's record could be even better if the defense had a pulse. The proper supporting cast has a lot to do with a player's MVP candidate's chances. Now that one of his favorite weapons, Will Fuller, and the team's best corner, Bradley Roby, are both suspended for the rest of the season by the league for violating the substance abuse/PED policy, things will get much tougher for Watson.

If he continues to put up these cartoon like numbers, I don't see why he wouldn't be in the MVP conversation. He's currently fopurth in passing yards, sixth in completion percentage, tied for fifth in passing touchdowns, eighth in QBR, and third in quarterback rating. Watson is emerging as the star he was projected to be coming into the 2017 draft. I'm not saying Watson deserves to be the league MVP, but he deserves to be in the conversation. His MVP candidacy should be treated like the family gathering hierarchy: once you reach a certain age and/or status, you're no longer resigned to the kiddie table. Now you get to sit with all the adults, engage in their conversations, and gain access to things you couldn't previously. Watson won't win the MVP award, but I strongly believe he could finish top five. Especially if he keeps making lemonade with the lemons he's been given.

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