Houston is now 10-10

Astros get back to .500 and secure series with win over Mariners

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After unloading on Seattle in the lopsided 11-1 win on Friday, the Astros tried to lock up the series and continue their success at the plate with a victory on Saturday. Here is a quick recap of the middle game of the three-game set:

Final Score: Astros 2, Mariners 1.

Record: 10-10, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (2-1, 2.91 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Nick Margevicius (0-1, 3.14 ERA).

Houston scores early as Javier goes six scoreless

After combining for ten runs in the first inning on Friday, both teams headed to the second still scoreless on Saturday, thanks in part by Cristian Javier striking out the side in order in the top of the inning. The middle of Houston's order went to work in the bottom of the second, getting a runner in scoring position via a Yordan Alvarez single who then moved to third on a double by Yuli Gurriel. Jose Altuve, who was moved down to seventh in the lineup, took advantage of the RBI opportunity with a groundout to put the Astros in front 1-0.

Gurriel would make another impact in the bottom of the fourth, hitting a two-out solo home run to straightaway center to double the lead, 2-0. That gave Javier a two-run cushion, and he hadn't allowed a hit yet in the game. Seattle would change that in the top of the fifth, getting their first hit and threatening to score, but Javier was able to work out of a jam to keep the Mariners off the board. He would last one more frame, getting the Mariners to go down 1-2-3 in the sixth. His final line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR.

Bullpen holds on for the win

Josh James entered to take over for Javier in the top of the seventh. Unlike his other appearances this year, James would get through this one without allowing any runs. Brooks Raley was next out of the bullpen for the top of the eighth, and he would allow the first run of the night for the Mariners on a two-out solo home run to cut the lead in half at 2-1.

After threatening to add some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, Seattle would hold the Astros off, keeping it a one-run game going to the ninth. Ryan Pressly would enter to try and notch another save, and he would do so with a quick 1-2-3 inning. The victory put Houston back at .500 on the year and made it three straight wins.

Up Next: The finale of this series between the Astros and Mariners will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston after a gem in his last start, while Justus Sheffield (1-2, 5.27 ERA) will start for Seattle.

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Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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