Houston is now 3-3 on the year

Dodgers and Astros go deep into extras, Los Angeles comes out ahead to sweep series

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Things escalated quickly in the first game of this series with benches clearing and emotions running high after Joe Kelly made his feelings known about the Astros with erratic pitches flying over Astros' heads. After more than enough opinions and statements made by fans and voices of the sport, things finally returned to the field on Wednesday between the Dodgers and Astros. Here is a quick rundown of the second of two games between Houston and Los Angeles:

Final Score (13 innings): Dodgers 4, Astros 2.

Record: 3-3, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Dennis Santana (1-0, 4.15 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Cy Sneed (0-1, 2.08 ERA).

Javier shines in his first career start

In his first start at the major-league level, Cristian Javier was fantastic. He made just one mistake through his first five innings of work, a pitch that resulted in a solo home run by Corey Seager in the top of the second to put Los Angeles up 1-0.

Javier was otherwise dominant, recording all other Dodgers in order through the first five frames, including eight strikeouts over that span. He returned in the top of the sixth, in a 1-1 game, and after a walk and single with one out, would get one more out before Dusty Baker would make the call to the bullpen. Blake Taylor would come in and get the final out to make Javier's line final: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR.

Slow offensive night for both teams as game stays tied 1-1 late

Houston's run that tied the game came in the bottom of the second. Michael Brantley led off the inning with a ground-rule double, moved to third on a groundout for the second out, then scored as Myles Straw legged out an infield single for the RBI to tie the game 1-1.

After Taylor would get the final out for Javier in the sixth, he would continue on the mound for a scoreless 1-2-3 seventh then remain in the game for the top of the eighth. He would allow a one-out double but would erase the runner with a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.

Dodgers pull ahead in extras to sweep the mini-series 

Still knotted up at 1-1 going to the top of the ninth with the Dodgers back around to the top of their lineup, the Astros moved to closer Roberto Osuna. He was able to get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros a chance at a walk-off. Houston would strand two runners in the bottom of the ninth against Kenley Jansen, sending the game to extra innings to test out the new rules for 2020, where each inning would start with a runner on second base.

Osuna came back for a second inning in the top of the second and was able to keep the free runner on second with a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the inning, Kyle Tucker would be the runner on second, but he too would be erased after an inning-ending double play. Moving on to the eleventh, Cy Sneed would be next out of the bullpen, and he would allow an RBI-single to Mookie Betts to break the tie in favor of Los Angeles at 2-1.

The Astros would respond in the bottom of the eleventh, starting with a leadoff single by Yuli Gurriel to put runners on the corners with no outs. That brought Carlos Correa to the plate, and he would deliver with an RBI-single to tie it at 2-2. Later in the inning, a botched review should have loaded the bases with one out, but instead had runners on the corners with two outs and would result in the game continuing to the twelfth.

Sneed was able to once again erase the free runner in the twelfth, retiring Los Angeles in order. George Springer, who pinch-hit earlier in the game and would be the final out of the eleventh, was on second to start the twelfth but would stay there as the Astros came up empty again, sending the game to the thirteenth. In that inning, Los Angeles would finally get to Sneed, getting a leadoff two-run homer to jump ahead 4-2, a score that would go final.

Up Next: The Astros will have their first day off of the 2020 season on Thursday as they travel to Los Angeles to start a weekend series with the Angels on Friday. The first of the three-game series will begin at 8:10 PM Central on Friday, and while Lance McCullers Jr. is the expected pitcher for Houston, the Angels have not yet named their starter for the game.

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The power struggle continues. Photo by Getty Images.

Boy, with the recent blizzard of negative publicity – searing magazine cover stories with headlines blasting "Houston Has a Problem" and "The Chaplain Who Won a Power Struggle and Plunged a Franchise into Chaos" – I'll bet the Houston Texans wished they had a seasoned, respected and award-winning media director to handle damage control.

Oh yeah, that's exactly what they had in Amy Palcic, but she was fired last year. Reason: she "wasn't the right culture fit."

What exactly is the Houston Texans culture these days? Apparently the culture is players disliking and distrusting the team executive specifically charged with managing the team's culture. It's that same executive whose resume has more fudging than the Keebler Cookie Company. It's that executive who's accused of authorizing illegal practices and hiring private eyes to follow players in their private activities. It's that executive who's accused of intimidating employees who trash him to the media and threatening to sue media outlets. It's that executive who imposes his religious fervor on lower-ranked employees. It's that executive who has created a culture where gifted quarterback Deshaun Watson is said to want a trade out of Houston.

That executive is Jack Easterby - the backstabbing, butt-smooching BS'er who seems to have a Svengali hold on Texans chairman Cal McNair.

If it comes down to one stays and one has to go between Watson and Easterby … hmmm, let's see. Deshaun Watson threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. Jack Easterby, zero and zero.

Last week, Texans legend Andre Johnson, who usually speaks up less than the magician Teller, tweeted: "Since Jack Easterby walk into the building nothing good has happened. For some reason someone can't seem to see what's going on. Pathetic!!!"

That "someone" would be Texans chairman Cal McNair, who continues to support Easterby despite all the accusations and revelations hurled Easterby's way.

By the way, Easterby has not sued any media outlet that is publishing stories about his bullying and sneakiness. And he won't sue because that last thing he wants is to be put in a witness chair and swear to tell the truth.

In the past 12 months, with Easterby sticking his nose in McNair's ear, the Texans have managed to alienate and infuriate superstar Watson: trade All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins and create a losing, uninspired clubhouse that has favorite son J.J. Watt wanting a trade to leave his beloved Houston.

It's not like Easterby is some mad genius who somehow produces spectacular results despite his unorthodox tactics. The Texans finished 2020 with a disastrous 4-12 record, with little to show for it, not even a top draft pick to honor their futility. The Texans are clearly in need of divine intervention, and not from huckster Easterby, whose degree is in sports management from Newberry College. Easterby is only dimples and wavy hair short of being a TV preacher.

You can't deny that Easterby is inspiration. He recently inspired a public protest on the sidewalk outside NRG Stadium and signs swaying over Southwest Freeway with the same message: #FireJackEasterby. Watson asked his supporters not to attend the rally due to COVID precaution.

Then there's the case of Deshaun Watson v. Cal McNair.

Watson was born into an economically disadvantaged family and has worked for, and deserves, every penny he is paid. He is a champion.

Cal McNair found the Houston Texans under his Christmas tree in 2018 after his father Texans original owner Bob McNair died.

Watson is an extremely bright and sensitive man who is deeply involved in social issues off the field. Last year, during the summer of racial upheaval in America, he led the charge to have the name of a former slave owner removed from a building on his alma mater Clemson's campus.

McNair hardly ever speaks in public and his stumbling, confused performance at a press conference to announce the hire of general manager Nick Caserio showed why. It's rare when a team owner has to apologize after making what should have been a happy statement promising fans a better future. However, if a stage production of the Beverly Hillbillies ever goes to Broadway, we've got our Jethro.

Many times when a player gets into a public spat with a team owner, it's a dumb jock player vs. the super-smart businessman who owns a billion-dollar company. It's usually over money. And the public typically thinks, "just get rid of the ungrateful, overpaid and greedy player."

Not this time. Watson already got his – four years at $156 million. This is a war of morality. Watson is the hero here, McNair the fool being played by Easterby, who like Cassius is Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, "has a lean and hungry look."

If it came to a public vote between Watson and McNair (Easterby), Watson's landslide win would rival Kim Jong-Un in North Korea … or LeAnn Rimes on The Masked Singer.

It's unfair to call McNair and Easterby polarizing figures because polarizing implies that there are two sides to the issue.

There is only one side. Houston loves Deshaun Watson and wants McNair to sell the team, right after he fires Easterby.

Seemingly the only defender rushing to Easterby's side is a Twitter account allegedly owned by Easterby under a fake name. If it is a burner account, Easterby has a whole lot of faith in himself.

Although football insiders say that Watson is all but out the door at NRG Stadium, there is still a chance that McNair could save the day, and do what is needed to keep Watson in Texans' gear. And that would be to fire Easterby. Now.

Sadly, given McNair's repeated pledges of loyalty to Easterby and insistence that criticism of Easterby is unwarranted, Watson's leaving Houston gets more likely each day. Andre Johnson had it right … "pathetic!!!"

Three exclamation points.

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