Astros win in extra innings on Labor Day

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 3-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Riding high after a phenomenal no-hitter by Justin Verlander on Sunday to close out the series with the Blue Jays in Toronto, Houston turned their attention to a quick two-game series in Milwaukee against the Brewers. The first of those two games was on Labor Day Monday, and here is how it shook out:

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 3, Brewers 2.

Record: 90-49, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Roberto Osuna (4-3, 3.13 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Junior Guerra (8-5, 3.63 ERA).

1) It wasn't a no-hitter, but still a gem by Cole 

Gerrit Cole would see his chances of matching Justin Verlander with a no-hitter eliminated in the bottom of the first inning. Cole allowed a one-out solo home run, putting the Brewers up 1-0 early. He was quick to shrug off that early mistake, mowing down batters to get to another double-digit strikeout start with the tenth coming in the bottom of the fifth. In that same inning, Cole would face a tough test after loading the bases with two outs but would get another strikeout to end Milwaukee's threat.

With his pitch count rising, he emptied the tank in the bottom of the sixth trying to finish off one more inning before Houston would have to go to their bullpen. Cole would end up providing a 1-2-3 inning with two more strikeouts, bringing his total to fourteen on the day. His final line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 K, 1 HR.

2) Bregman ties it, Alvarez gives Houston the lead 


Houston's offense was able to work Adrian Houser deep into counts several times over the early parts of the game, but would not get on the scoreboard until the third inning when Alex Bregman hit an RBI-single to tie the game 1-1.

That tie lasted until the top of the sixth inning when Yordan Alvarez would hit a go-ahead solo home run to put Houston ahead 2-1. The homer was Alvarez's 22nd of his rookie campaign, tying Carlos Correa's rookie-record number from 2015.

3) Osuna allows Milwaukee to tie, Springer puts Houston ahead in the tenth

With Cole finished after his six innings, the Astros turned the ball over to Hector Rondon for the bottom of the seventh to maintain the one-run lead. He did so, retiring the Brewers in order with two strikeouts. Will Harris was next out of Houston's bullpen to pitch the bottom of the eighth, and he was able to erase a one-out single by flashing a little leather on a double play to keep the Astros ahead by one run going to the ninth.

With the score still 2-1 going to the bottom of the ninth, Roberto Osuna would come in for another save opportunity. Instead, he allowed a leadoff home run to Christian Yelich to tie the game. After two outs, Osuna had a comebacker then botched the throw to first, extending the inning, but would get a strikeout to send the game to extra innings.

In the top of the tenth, George Springer immediately broke the tie with a leadoff dinger to put Houston back in front 3-2. Josh James, making his return from a stint on the injured list, came in for the bottom of the tenth and was able to hold off the Brewers, despite two walks, to complete the win.

Up Next: The Astros will wrap up this two-game set with the Brewers on Tuesday at 6:40 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Jordan Lyles (9-8, 4.55 ERA) for Milwaukee going up against Zack Greinke (14-4, 2.99 ERA) for Houston.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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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.

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