Houston wins third straight

Tucker slams, Greinke deals as Astros take opener over Angels

Kyle Tucker's grand slam provided the Astros the runs they needed to win on Friday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After getting the two-game sweep of the Rockies at home in the middle of the week, the Astros entered Angel Stadium as visitors on Friday after a day off looking to grab their third-straight win. Thanks to one big inning and solid pitching, they would get it.

Final Score: Astros 4, Angels 1

Astros' Record: 69-46, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (11-3)

Losing Pitcher: Patrick Sandoval (3-6)

Tucker's slam gets Houston on the board in a big way

After just a handful of hits and no runs by both teams through the first three innings, Houston started the scoring in the top of the fourth. It came in a big way, with two walks and a single to load the bases, bringing Kyle Tucker to the plate, who delivered a 400-foot grand slam to give the Astros a 4-0 lead.

Greinke carves up LA's lineup

That gave Zack Greinke a lead to work with, and he held the Angels off the board. He allowed two baserunners over the first three innings, a ground-rule double in the second and a single in the third. He retired the other 21 batters he faced, carving up the Angels lineup in seven scoreless innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 94 P.

Astros grab the opener

First out of the Astros' bullpen was Kendall Graveman, who pitched the bottom of the eighth. He got through the frame, but not before allowing LA's first run of the night, a two-out RBI single by Shohei Ohtani to make it 4-1. Ryan Pressly took over in the bottom of the ninth, tossing a 1-2-3 inning to grab the save and wrap up the win for Houston to take the opener.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be an 8:07 PM Central start on Saturday. Luis Garcia (8-6, 3.29 ERA) will look to get his ninth win of the year for the Astros, going opposite of Jaime Barria (2-0, 4.21 ERA) for the Angels.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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