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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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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