Astros secure series win against Seattle

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 2-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Still gridlocked with the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and with two wins already in the books in the first games of this set with the Mariners, the Astros looked to lock up the series on Saturday night.

They had Justin Verlander, fresh of a no-hitter, on the mound to try and do so, and keep pace with New York and continue moving towards their magic number in the division. Here is a quick rundown of the game:

Final Score: Astros 2, Mariners 1.

Record: 93-50, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (18-5, 2.52 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Austin Adams (1-2, 3.54 ERA).

1) Verlander continues to dominate

Justin Verlander kept moving along dominantly to start Saturday's game with Mariners, continuing his recent stretch of success including the no-hitter in his last start. He retired the first six batters he faced in order but would snap his hitless and scoreless streak in the third, though.

A leadoff single in the top of the third would come around to score on a one-out triple, putting Seattle in front 1-0, and giving Verlander his first earned run since his start on August 21st. He settled back in after that, though, throwing four more scoreless innings en route to one of his typical successful starts. His final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR.

2) Houston ties in the sixth, goes ahead in the seventh

After being held scoreless through the first five innings, Alex Bregman finally gave Houston their first run against Yusei Kikuchi with a solo home run to lead off the sixth. With his 100th walk earlier in the night, and the home run giving him his 100th RBI on the year, Alex Bregman joined Mike Trout as the only other player in the majors with 100 runs, 100 walks, and 100 RBIs.

After tying the game in the inning prior, Houston took their first lead of the night in the bottom of the seventh. Kyle Tucker led the inning off by pinch-hitting and appeared to hit a home run after hitting a ball off of the left-field scoreboard that made it into the stands but instead was ruled a double and fan interference. He moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick, making it a 2-1 Astros lead.

3) James and Harris finish it off

With Verlander's night over after seven one-run innings, it was up to Houston's bullpen to preserve the one-run lead that had him in line for the win. Josh James was out first to throw the top of the eighth and despite putting two runners on with one out, was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

With Roberto Osuna's usage high in recent days, Houston turned to Will Harris to notch the save in the ninth. He did so, retiring the Mariners in order, securing the series win.

Up Next: Houston and Seattle will conclude this four-game series on Sunday at 1:10 PM. Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.81 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros opposite of Felix Hernandez (1-5, 6.02 ERA) for the Mariners.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

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.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome