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.
After blasting a career-high 34 homers this year in #MiLB, Kyle Tucker hit his first #MLB homer tonight for the #Astros. pic.twitter.com/312aP1SHA0
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 6, 2019
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.
These are the dog days of winter for the Houston Texans who are still unpacking their improbable 2023 season that stirred dreams of future deep postseason runs.
If no one saw last season coming – the AFC South Division title, a postseason game at home complete with an underdog win – then it’s OK to look ahead with rose-colored goggles. Head coach DeMeco Ryans is a strong candidate for Coach of the Year, quarterback C.J. Stroud should win Offensive Rookie of the Year unanimously, and the offensive coordinator is being lauded as one of the best young minds in the NFL. That’s the big picture for sure.
But it’s the little things that point to the Texans being taken seriously as a legit budding powerhouse, and two of them happened over the past few days.
A couple of nights ago Tampa Bay Buccaneer free agent receiver Mike Evans attended a Rockets game at Toyota Center. When they flashed Evans’ image on the big scoreboard, a tingle shot up Texans fans’ legs. Could the Texans be interested in signing Evans … and would an all-pro talent like Evans want to play here?
Two years ago, the answers would have been hell no! Superstars want to play where they have a chance of winning a Super Bowl ring. They want to play for respected coaching staffs. They want to play in cities where the NFL team dominates the sports headlines.
You might recall that the Texans were a disastrous franchise of unimagined failure – four coaches in four years. One season the team was paying three of them at the same time. The stands were practically empty. No one seemed to care, which is the worst that could happen to a pro team. Fans could count Texans wins on one hand and have fingers left over to show the team owner what they thought of him.
Now? Why wouldn’t Evans want to come to Houston? He grew up in Galveston and played his college ball at Texas A&M. More important, where would he find a better situation to pad his Hall of Fame credentials? In Tampa Bay where Baker Mayfield may or may not be your quarterback? Or in Houston where one of the best young passers in NFL history would be calling your number?
Maybe it’s because he’s played his entire career in small market Tampa Bay, but Evans is compiling numbers that compare favorably with the all-time greats. He racked up more than 1,000 receiving yards in each of his 10 seasons. Last season he caught 79 balls for 1,255 yards. He’s big, 6 ft. 5 and 231 pounds, and he goes deep. He led the NF L in touchdowns last year with 13. Imagine a Texans receiving corps with Evans, Nico Collins and Tank Dell.
Evans will want big bucks, but he’s proven he’s no whammy.
Equally important to the Texans status as an up-and-coming contender, but in a weirdly different way, a Houston Texan has landed a national commercial – the first local hero since J.J. Watt plastered his face on products ranging from Reebok to Gatorade to Ford trucks to Verizon Wireless.
C.J. Stroud has hooked up with Cheetos Crunchy Buffalo snacks. The hook of the Cheetos campaign is, while these chips will never top Buffalo wings, sometimes No. 2 is the best place to be. It’s a play on the Texans landing Stroud with the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft behind Bryce Young.
Stroud’s message: “Buffalo wings have always been superior and king at watch parties in the football season. So Cheetos came out with a new flavor, Buffalo Crunchy Cheetos. We’re trying to take over the second spot right under Buffalo wings. I know a thing or two about being second and still trying to bring the heat.”