Astros' winning streak extended to ten games

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 7-3 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With a win under their belt from the night before, the Astros looked to secure the series win with a victory on Saturday night. Here are the quick facts and four hits from the game:

Final Score: Astros 7, Red Sox 3

Record: 31-15, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Josh James (1-0, 4.56 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Hector Velazquez (1-3, 5.53 ERA).

1) Starting with a bang

The Astros came out firing starting with leadoff man George Springer drilling a triple to start the game. He'd come around to score on an RBI-double by Michael Brantley to start a five-run first inning with RBIs from Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel, along with a two-RBI double by Tyler White, putting Houston ahead 5-0 and knocking Hector Velazquez out of the game before Boston could even come to the plate.

2) Rougher start for Martin

After a terrific debut last week by Corbin Martin, he had a tougher matchup in the Red Sox and in the hostile environment of Boston. He'd watch one run come across in the bottom of the first after walking the bases loaded on three consecutive two-out walks then a passed ball by Max Stassi scored the run to make it 5-1. After a quick second inning, Martin allowed a walk then RBI-double in the third, making it a 6-2 game at the time.

He allowed a solo home run just around Pesky's Pole in the bottom of the fourth, then after back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the fifth had his night come to an end. Josh James was able to come in and erase those runners, putting Martin's final line at 4 innings pitched, 3 runs (2 earned), 4 walks, and 0 strikeouts.

3) Staying out in front

After the big five-run first inning, the Astros made sure to maintain a multiple-run lead with Boston taking some runs back. In the second, Houston was able to get runners on the corners with one out, setting up an RBI sac fly by Carlos Correa to make it 6-1. Josh Reddick led off the fifth with a solo home run, putting the lead back to four runs at 7-3, a score that would hold until the end.

4) Five strong innings from the bullpen

As mentioned, Josh James came in to get all three outs in the fifth after Martin was unable to get through it. James would go on to eat up three big innings, all scoreless, maintaining the four-run lead and saving some other bullpen arms from having to be used. Will Harris entered the game to pitch the eighth and retired the Red Sox in order to send the game to the ninth. In the ninth, Roberto Osuna took over in a non-save situation and was able to finish off the win.

Up Next: Houston and Boston will wrap up this series tomorrow with the first pitch of the game at 12:05 PM. The Astros will send Wade Miley (4-2, 3.51 ERA) to the mound to try and complete the sweep, but to do so he'll have to beat out Boston's ace Chris Sale (1-5, 4.24 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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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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