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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NASCAR is coming to Texas! Photo via: Wiki Commons

It’s an All-Star weekend for the NASCAR Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway. As most fans know, this race is extremely different from what we see on a usual Sunday. This race is an invitational event featuring the winners from the 2021 and 2022 seasons with a few qualifiers including past champions and past All-Star winners over the last ten seasons. As it does every year, the format for this race has changed. It will be divided into four stages, and the winner of each of the first three stages will take up the first three spots on the grid (as long as they finish 15th or higher). The final stage will be fifty laps and if there is no caution between laps 15-25, then the yellow will be thrown to stack everything up. Probably the most important and intriguing change to the format won’t take place on race day, but during qualifying. The field will be given one lap and the fastest eight will advance to the final round, where they will each face-off head-to-head in a bracket. Each paring will have a mandatory pit-stop before exiting, and the first car back to the finish line moves on. This is a unique way of deciding who starts where, I would not be surprised in the slightest if it comes back somewhere down the line in the future

Last week, Kurt Busch went on to score his first victory of the year. It didn’t come easy for the 2004 champion, he had to fend off Kyle Larson and his brother Kyle Busch. The race was marred by numerous tire failures, as it seemed drivers could only go 25-35 laps before running into an issue. Luckily for Kurt, the cautions fell at the right time and he was able to manage his tires as he dominated the race by leading a race-high 116 laps. This was the first win for the #45 car at 23XII racing, as now both Busch and his teammate Bubba Wallace both have victories. While it’s been a frustrating season for this team, this win couldn’t have come at a better time.

While Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan celebrated their team win, Stewart-Haas racing was on the opposite end of the spectrum. All four of their cars finished outside the top ten, including their franchise driver Kevin Harvick. It’s worth noting that despite the disastrous day that he had, Harvick could bounce back with a respectable 15th-place finish. This team has a lot of questions regarding the future of their driver lineup. We know that next season Aric Almirola will retire, but after that who will fill the seat? Will it be their reserve driver Ryan Preece? Could it even be Kyle Busch? With these types of disappointing results from Harvick, many have wondered if he might decide to retire at the end of the 2022 season. This will be a team to follow in the coming months.

As we reach the dog days of summer, the infamous silly season is right around the corner. This is when the rumors start to become louder and louder about who will go next season and what rides will be available. As I mentioned earlier, Kyle Busch is easily the biggest question on the grid, with Mars leaving at season's end, can Joe Gibbs racing find him a sponsor to keep him in the #18 Toyota? There were reports on Thursday that the team was in negotiations with a “major tech company” to sponsor the car for one season. It’s clear that re-signing the two-time champion is the number one priority for Joe Gibbs and Toyota. TRD Executive David Wilson stated that losing him would be, “Unacceptable.” It will be interesting to see this story develop.

With that, the driver I have winning the All-Star Race this weekend is none other than Kyle Busch. Overall, it’s hard to find active drivers with better stats here at this track than him as he’s won here four times, the most among the field. He’s also led over 1,069 laps here, almost more than double the amount of the next closest driver (Martin Truex Jr with 674). When Jimmie Johnson stepped away from the sport in 2020, it was clear that the torch was handed over to Kyle as the best driver at this racetrack. He will be the driver to beat for the million dollars when the checkered flag falls.

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