Houston continues to lose in heartbreaking fashion

Astros swept by Angels after several blown leads in high-scoring doubleheader

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

After the deflating loss in extra innings to start the series, the Astros had a chance at two wins on Saturday, playing a doubleheader against the Angels in Los Angeles. Here are how both games unfolded:

Game 1

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 10, Astros 9.

Record: 21-17, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Felix Pena (3-0, 3.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (1-2, 3.60 ERA).

Both teams trade blows early

After the same duo brought in the walk-off run the night prior, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani worked together to score the doubleheader's first run on an RBI-single by Ohtani, giving Los Angeles a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Astros responded quickly, getting a solo home run by Kyle Tucker in the top of the second to even the game 1-1.

The expanded upon that by putting up three runs with two outs in the top of the third, two on a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel, then an RBI-infield single by Kyle Tucker, giving Houston a 4-1 lead. Trout would strike again in the bottom of the same inning, hitting a two-run home run to make it a one-run game at 4-3, then Jo Adell started the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to tie the game. Brandon Bielak, Houston's starter, would record two more outs before Dusty Baker would dip into his bullpen to try and slow the recent surge by the Angels. His final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 77 P.

The back and forth continues

Chris Devenski would make his return to the mound off the injured list for Houston, appearing in his first game since July 26th, finishing the fourth for Bielak. George Springer led off the fifth with a triple, then scored on a go-ahead RBI-single by Myles Straw. Straw would later come around to score on another RBI by Kyle Tucker, a single to make it 6-4.

Devenski continued in the fifth and would complete the inning, but not before a double by Mike Trout would turn into a two-run game-tying home run by Justin Upton, making it 6-6 with two innings left. The Angels would go back in front in the bottom of the sixth against Cy Sneed, getting a one-out walk then RBI-double to make it 7-6, and nearly made it 8-6 if not for a great throw to get a runner out at home.

Astros go up two in the seventh, Angels do one better to take game 2

Down to their last three outs to try and tie or go-ahead, the Astros would break through. Myles Straw led off the frame with a double, then scored in the next at-bat with an RBI-single by Michael Brantley to tie the game. Later in the inning, Carlos Correa would come through with a big two-out double to keep the inning alive, setting up the go-ahead two-RBI single by Martin Maldonado, putting Houston back out front at 9-7.

Blake Taylor, who finished the sixth for Cy Sneed, would try to wrap things up in the bottom of the seventh to help Houston avoid dipping further into their depleted bullpen. Instead, he issued back-to-back walks, prompting a change to bring in Enoli Parades. Paredes would not be unable to get it done, though, allowing an RBI-double before a walk-off two-RBI single to hand the Angels the win in Game 1.

Game 2

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 7, Astros 6.

Record: 21-18, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Noe Ramirez (1-0, 4.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Humberto Castellanos (0-1, 8.31 ERA).

Astros keep the scoring going in Game 2

With the second game being a makeup of a game meant to be at Minute Maid Park, the Astros would play as the home team with the Angels batting first. That meant Jose Urquidy, making his 2020 debut after missing time due to a positive COVID test and resulting quarantine period, would be on the mound first. He was able to erase a two-out walk of Mike Trout for a scoreless first inning.

George Springer would give the Astros the first run of game two, leading off the bottom of the first with a dinger to make it a 1-0 Houston lead. They extended the early lead in the bottom of the second, getting two on base to start the inning to set up a three-run home run by Josh Reddick, making it 4-0.

Urquidy allows a couple of runs in his return

The Angels would get their first run against Urquidy in the top of the fourth, as Mike Trout would once again reach base with a double before later scoring on an RBI-single by Albert Pujols. He would go on to load the bases with one out, and the Astros would cede one run for an out on an RBI-groundout, making it 4-2 and leaving runners on second and third.

Dusty Baker, who likely was reaching Urquidy's pitch limit for the night, used the opportunity to move to another returning pitcher, Brad Peacock. Peacock would get the final out of the inning, making Urquidy's line final: 3.2 IP, 4H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 63 P.

Springer homers again, but another blown lead hands Angels the doubleheader sweep

Peacock would face traffic in the top of the fifth, putting the first two runners on base with a single and a hit-by-pitch. Both would advance on a long out by Trout before scoring on a two-RBI single by none other than Albert Pujols, knotting the game up 4-4. George Springer would put the Astros back in front in the bottom of the inning, hitting his second home run of the game, this a two-run go-ahead dinger off of Jo Adell's glove to make it 6-4.

With Peacock also reaching his pitch limit, the Astros turned to one of their last fresh arms, Humberto Castellanos, who struck out the side in the top of the sixth. He returned to try and complete a two-inning save in the top of the seventh, but after putting two on base on a single and walk would allow a three-run go-ahead bomb to Anthony Rendon, giving the Angels a 7-6 lead. Los Angeles would hold Houston scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, sweeping the doubleheader.

Up Next: The final game of this four-game set will start at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. The expecting pitching matchup is Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.58 ERA) for the Astros and Jaime Barria (0-0, 2.63 ERA) for the Angels.

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Davis Mills has to work to do. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Texans took to the field for their second day of workouts on the field. Here are 11 observations from a shaky offensive day.

1. Mills had a shakier day than his first. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. There were a lot of teachable moments for him in this practice. General manager Nick Caserio said consistency is the biggest thing for him in evaluating a player. Part of the consistency is how often do you make the same mistakes, according to Caserio. Mills has work to do before Monday’s practice.

2. Even with the shaky day, there is still excitement to Mills. Seeing how he bounces back will be big, and the challenge won't be easy as the team will have a padded practice on Monday. Traditionally, defenses are ahead of the offense early in training camp.

3. Nico Collins and Davis Mills weren’t on the same page on Saturday. The two had a few miscommunications that led to some incomplete passes. Mills also came up just a little long on a deep pass to Collins. Later the two hooked up for a nice completion as Collins beat rookie Derek Stingley Jr. but it was not the best day for the two second-year players.

4. There weren’t a lot of receivers getting open today. Brandin Cooks is about the only player who constantly gets open. It led to Davis Mills holding the ball a few times and ultimately deciding to check the ball down. The secondary had a solid day.

5. Lovie Smith said after practice they don’t scheme up a lot of short passes and this team will need to move the ball through the air. He did lament that sometimes you have to take a quick and short gain as an offense. Smith also joked when you don’t like the passing game you can give credit to the coverage.

6. Speaking of the secondary, it featured a lot of Derek Stingley Jr. on Saturday. The first passing drill with the offense against defense saw Stingley Jr. square off with Brandin Cooks. It was again a win for Cooks, but the rookie had some nice moments on the field. Chris Conley also had a nice win against Stingley Jr. in coverage. The Texans have to get their first-round pick acclimated to how they will use him. I will say though that Stingley Jr. makes things look fluid and easy as he moves about the defense.

7. Safety Terrence Brooks has put together a nice couple of days to start training camp. He has had at least one pass break-up in each of the first two days and he has a lot of energy in the secondary. Rookie Jalen Pitre dashed into the backfield sniffing out a toss play showcasing his anticipation.

8. Garret Wallow was a player showing up to camp with high expectations, and he’d earned them. The late-round pick last year had done a great job getting his body in shape, and it feels like he is all over the field. Wallow had a pass break-up Saturday and he is near the top of my list for when the pads come on Monday.

9. Speaking of players who will excite when the pads come on, Kenyon Green is near the top of my list too. The “other” first-round pick for the Texans hasn’t played as much as you would maybe like so far, but he absolutely STONED a defender on a running play. There is work to do, but Green has flashes and in pads, he should flash more.

10. Jerry Hughes is one of the oldest players on the field. You wouldn’t know it though. The veteran has a ton of energy, and he’s very vocal. He easily dismissed Laremy Tunsil for what would have been a sack. Hughes is going to be a necessary contributor to this team in 2022.

11. Jonathan Greenard, Justin Britt, and Kamu Grugier-Hill all practiced after missing time on Friday. Phillip Dorsett has yet to really get involved and Lovie Smith said Dorsett is a little dinged up. The team will practice in pads on Monday for the first time. Jalen Pitre, Kenyon Green, Garret Wallow, Christian Harris, and Roy Lopez are the players I have near the top of my list to keep an eye on as the pads come on.

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