Houston gets back into the series with a win on the road

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Houston takes World Series Game 3 in D.C. to get back on track

Jose Altuve in World Series Game 3
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Jose Altuve scores on a night of much improved offense in World Series Game 3

After falling into a 2-0 hole with losses in both Games 1 and 2 in Houston, the Astros had to get things back under control with a win in Game 3 to avoid going down 3-0. They accomplished that mission, getting a 4-1 victory by getting a much better offensive night, including performing better in scoring opportunities. Here is a recap of World Series Game 3 from D.C.:

Final Score: Astros 4, Nationals 1.

Series: Nationals lead 2-1.

Winning Pitcher: Josh James.

Losing Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez.

Houston strikes first

With their offensive woes on display in the first two games, George Springer tried to quickly turn the tide with a leadoff infield single in the top of the first inning of World Series Game 3. Jose Altuve nearly scored him with a long drive to center field, but instead would be the first out on a terrific running catch by Victor Robles. Springer would steal second, but be stranded as the first runner in scoring position. They would get on the board in the top of the second, getting a one-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on a bloop single by Josh Reddick, making it 1-0.

The next two batters would reach base, bringing up Zack Greinke, who would put down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third for George Springer, who would groundout to strand both runners. Altuve led off the top of the third with a double and was able to advance to third as Juan Soto would have trouble with the ball in the left-field corner. That set up Michael Brantley for an RBI infield single, extending the early lead to 2-0.

Greinke holds the lead but unable to complete five innings

Meanwhile, Zack Greinke was able to work in and out of trouble through the first three innings. He worked around a two-out double in the bottom of the first, then after allowing back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the second, was able to get a strikeout and double play to strand both runners. He faced another jam in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with two outs before getting a pivotal strikeout to leave all three Nationals on base.

Washington would get on the board in the bottom of the fourth, getting a leadoff walk that would score on a one-out RBI-triple by Victor Robles to cut Houston's lead in half at 2-1. Houston was able to get the run right back in the top of the fifth as Altuve and Brantley combined for a score with a one-out double then RBI-single, making it 3-1.

Greinke would continue into the fifth, but after two outs and putting runners on second and third after a two-out double, would see his night ended as Houston went to Josh James, who would get the final out of the inning. Greinke's final line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.

Chirinos homers as Houston's bullpen holds on to the lead

In the top of the sixth, Robinson Chirinos pushed Houston's lead to three runs with a one-out solo home run, making it a 4-1 game. Kyle Tucker would pinch-hit in the pitcher's spot next, and after a lengthy at-bat against Anibal Sanchez, was able to work a walk to end Sanchez's night and cause Washington to dip into their bullpen. Tucker stole second and was able to advance to third on an errant throw, but despite the Astros loading the bases would not be able to add any more to their lead.

Brad Peacock took over on the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but after back-to-back one-out walks was lifted in favor of Will Harris, who would finish off the inning. He would return for the bottom of the seventh and be able to retire the Nationals in order, getting five big outs for his team, heading to the eighth with a 4-1 lead. Houston tasked Joe Smith with the bottom of the eighth, and he was able to work around a one-out single to send the game to the ninth.

The Astros then turned to their closer, Roberto Osuna, in the bottom of the ninth to hold on to the three-run lead. He would do so as Houston would avoid going down 3-0 in the series and would instead make it a much more competitive 2-1 deficit heading to Game 4.

Up Next: World Series Game 4 will get underway on Saturday with another 7:07 PM Central start time. The Nationals will start Patrick Corbin, who before his one-inning relief appearance in Game 1 of this series last started a game in NLCS Game 4 where he went five innings during which he allowed four earned runs. The Astros will give the nod to Jose Urquidy, who last pitched out of the bullpen in ALCS Game 6, where he went 2.2 innings while allowing a solo home run.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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The Texans could use Mike Evans' help at wide receiver. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

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.”

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