Astros come back from 7-0 deficit to win in extras

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 11-9 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After ending their recent road trip with a loss against the Brewers before a day off, the Astros started Thursday 1.5 games behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League. They had an excellent opportunity to make up some ground with a four-game set with the Mariners. Here is a quick rundown of the opener:

Final Score (13 innings): Astros 11, Mariners 9.

Record: 91-50, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Josh James (5-0, 4.64 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Matt Wisler (3-4, 5.18 ERA).

1) Miley can't record a single out as Mariners blow it open early

Wade Miley had a terrible appearance on the mound on Thursday night. He faced a total of six batters and did not record an out against any of them. Instead, he allowed four runs on three hits and a home run, then put runners on first and second before A.J. Hinch would give him the hook.

Cy Sneed was given the task of a quick warmup and entry into the game and was able to get the three outs despite allowing Miley's fifth earned run. Miley's final line: 0.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR.

After allowing the run in the first, Sneed would also struggle with Seattle's lineup, giving up a two-run home run in the top of the second to extend the Mariners' lead to 7-0.

2) Houston chips away at the lead as Tucker gets his first homer

Houston's batters did not throw in the towel; they tried to shake Marco Gonzalez and start chipping away at the lead. In the bottom of the second, they were able to get runners on second and third with no outs. They would score one on a wild pitch but waste an opportunity for more.

Alex Bregman cut the lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the third on a two-RBI double. Jose Urquidy took over on the mound out of Houston's bullpen in the top of the fourth and worked around a leadoff walk for a scoreless inning then followed that up with a 1-2-3 fifth.

After another scoreless inning by Urquidy in the top of the sixth, Kyle Tucker finally notched his first major-league home run with a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the inning. Josh Reddick hit another one out later, making it a two-run game at 7-5.

3) Houston ties the game in the eighth


Seattle moved the lead back to three runs in the top of the seventh, getting a solo home run off of Urquidy to make it 8-5. Joe Biagini was the next reliever out and provided a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, then Houston went to work in the bottom half. They put two on base with a hit batter and walk, setting up Jose Altuve for a two-RBI triple to cut the lead to one run at 8-7, then Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 8-8 after the Astros had been down 7-0 after the first two innings.

Joe Smith tried to keep it tied and give the Astros a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth by throwing a scoreless top half and was able to get two of three batters out before Roberto Osuna took over for the final out. In the bottom of the ninth, Houston struck out in order, sending the game to extras.

4) Astros complete the comeback in extras

Osuna remained on the mound in the top of the tenth and worked around a one-out walk to keep the game tied. The Mariners did the same, pushing the game another inning where Hector Rondon pitched for Houston in the top of the eleventh. He kept Seattle off the bases, giving his offense yet another chance to finish the comeback.

In the bottom of the eleventh, the top of the Astros' order would strike out in order. Josh James had the top of the twelfth and would allow a one-out solo home run to put the Mariners back in front 9-8 before getting out of the inning. Houston would get a runner on base in the bottom of the inning, brought in Myles Straw to run, and that paid dividends as he would score from second on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to re-tie the game 9-9 and keep it going to the thirteenth.

Despite allowing the home run in the inning prior, James would remain in the game for the top of the thirteenth and struck out the side in order. Jake Marisnick led the bottom of the inning off with a walk, but Michael Brantley wouldn't need it with a walk-off home run to complete the comeback.

Up Next: This series will continue with another game on Friday night and another 7:10 PM start. The expected starting pitchers are Tommy Milone (3-8, 4.90 ERA) for the Mariners going against Framber Valdez (4-7, 5.55 ERA) for the Astros.

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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