Astros take another from the Mariners

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With the Astros playing a marathon the day before with their bullpen responsible for 13 innings of work in the victory in the series opener, they looked for a more traditional win on Friday night. Here is a recap of game two of four for this weekend:

Final Score: Astros 7, Mariners 4.

Record: 92-50, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Joe Smith (1-0, 1.40 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Tommy Milone (3-9, 4.98 ERA).

1) Teams trade blows in the first while Valdez goes just four innings

It looked like Houston may be in for a repeat of the night before in the first inning. Framber Valdez struggled to find the zone, walking the bases loaded with one out before a two-RBI single put the Mariners out to a 2-0 lead. Valdez would recover and finish the inning; then, his offense went to work in the bottom half.

Jose Altuve led things off for the Astros by reaching on an infield single and advancing to second on an error. After a walk, Houston would get three-straight RBIs from Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, giving them a 3-2 advantage.

Valdez was able to get two clean innings in the second and third, but a leadoff single in the top of the fourth would turn into a tying run. With his pitch count rising, he would finish that inning but go no further in the game. His final line: 4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.

2) Houston adds to their lead 

Houston regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a two-out solo home run by Josh Reddick, his second in as many nights. Joe Biagini was first out of Houston's taxed bullpen and was able to retire Seattle in order in the top of the fifth.

In the bottom of the inning, a one-out single by Alex Bregman turned into another run after he moved along to third on a hit batter and a groundout then took home while Aledmys Diaz was trapped in a rundown between first and second attempting to steal.

Biagini remained in the game for the top of the sixth; however, Seattle met him with a solo home run to start the inning and trim the lead back to one run. He would walk the next batter, resulting in another call to the bullpen to bring in Joe Smith who finished the inning. In the bottom half, Houston added two runs to their lead on an RBI-single by Michael Brantley and another on a passed ball, making it a 7-4 game.

3) Bullpen holds strong to seal the win

Hector Rondon was next out of Houston's bullpen and worked around a two-out hit batter to complete a scoreless inning in the seventh. Will Harris was next for the top of the eighth and he, too, would keep Seattle off the scoreboard.

Roberto Osuna finished things off in the ninth, notching another save and sealing up the victory for Houston. The win moved them to 92-50 on the year, tying them with the Yankees for the best record in the American League.

Up Next: Game three of this four-game set will be Saturday at 6:10 PM. Justin Verlander (17-5, 2.56 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston trying to replicate the success of his no-hitter from his last start, while Yusei Kikuchi (6-9, 5.36 ERA) will start for Seattle.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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It's all about Deshaun. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Texans moved to 3-7 following their 27-20 win over the Patriots. They are still without a permanent head coach and general manager. There lies the problem, and those problems will be settled this upcoming offseason. The new general manager and head coach will steer this franchise in the direction it needs to go in. Undoubtedly, Deshaun Watson will be at the forefront of what they do. How can he not be? You don't take a job like this with a quarterback like him and not consider him the centerpiece. What else would make one take either of those jobs? The salary cap hell the team is facing? The lack of draft picks coming off a terrible year? The faith ownership has placed in the NFL's version of Littlefinger?

Watson is the lone attraction to the flaming dumpster fire Cal McNair allowed to occur on his watch. If he's not careful, it could get worse and he'll find it hard to recover from. Watson signed an extension that'll keep him in Houston for another four years. He'll still be in his prime (barring any serious, career-threatening injury), and be eligible to hit the market as a free agent before he turns 30. So who do the Texans hire as head coach that can get the most out of Watson? Who can convince him to stay and re-sign after his extension is up?

The main cast of characters will most likely take better jobs. The Jets job is more attractive because of the cap space and draft picks. If the Falcons job opens up, so is it because of Matt Ryan and that offense. What coach/coaches would be interested in taking on this job that would be viable candidates given that the best of the best would take other jobs? Jayson Braddock and I tackled this topic not too long ago on Late Hits. Here are a few guys off the beaten path we felt were contenders:

Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator: Daboll is a guy who, according to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, is openly campaigning for this job. The work he's done with Josh Allen has been remarkable. Allen has gone from a raw prospect with all the physical tools to an MVP candidate. Who wouldn't want a guy like that in Watson's ear guiding him over the foreseeable future?

Greg Roman, Ravens offensive coordinator: Roman has done wonders for Colin Kaepernick and Lamar Jackson. He helped Kaepernick reach a Super Bowl with the 49ers and turned Jackson into last season's league MVP. Given his history with athletic quarterbacks, he should be a natural fit and given full consideration.

Tony Elliott, Clemson offensive coordinator: Here's where it gets interesting. Elliott has been the OC (or co-OC) at Clemson since 2015. He has an established relationship with Watson and a proven track record as a coordinator of high-powered offenses in college. He's the type of hire that won't cost as much as some big names will, but might be able to provide the same spark.

Note that all three of these guys are offensive coaches. I fully understand that the defense is an issue and needs help desperately. I also understand that the previous two coaches were offensive guys as well. But Watson is your franchise quarterback and the most attractive piece in a pile of flaming dung that resides on Kirby. If anyone is going to take this job, it'll be because of number four. I know these aren't the sexy names most folks would want to hear, but these names are more realistic as candidates. None of them has head coaching experience. That fact cheapens their price tag and lends itself to them being long shots. A lot of this depends on the general manager hire. We'll get into that in another articel. For right now, dwell on this and let me know what you think.

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