Houston grabs the opener

Astros start series against Indians with a win

Yordan Alvarez was able to break out of a recent slump with a homer Monday against the Indians. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

After a disappointing series where they lost two of three in Chicago against the White Sox to pick up after the All-Star break, the Astros returned home for six games starting with three against the Indians on Monday night. Albeit a close game throughout, Houston would get the win to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 4, Indians 3

Astros' Record: 57-38, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (9-3)

Losing Pitcher: C.J. Mejia (1-5)

Greinke gets a decent start

Zack Greinke, on lengthy rest, had a decent night on the mound, giving up just one hit over the first three innings before Cleveland got on the board with a two-out solo homer in the top of the fourth, at the time tying the game 1-1. He rebounded by erasing a walk in the fifth, but after back-to-back hits to start the sixth, he would get just one out before Houston turned to Cristian Javier. Javier would allow one of Greinke's runs to score before finishing the inning, making Zack's final line 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HER, 84 P.

Alvarez breaks out of his slump

Greinke remained in line for the win, though, thanks to some run support behind him. Houston took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Yuli Gurriel, plating Michael Brantley, who singled ahead of him. After Cleveland tied it in the top of the fourth, Martin Maldanado untied it with a two-out RBI single to put the Astros back in front 2-1.

After Brantley reached base again in the bottom of fifth, Yordan Alvarez was able to finally get something positive at the plate, breaking his recent slump with a two-run homer to extend Houston's lead to 4-1 at the time. After finishing the sixth for Greinke while giving up a run, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the seventh and erased a leadoff single to keep it a 4-2 game.

Astros hang on to take the opener

Ryne Stanek was next out of Houston's bullpen in the top of the eighth, and unlike his recent success, he allowed a run on two walks and an RBI single to tighten the lead to 4-3 before finishing the frame. Ryan Pressly, the Astros' closer, came on for his first inning of work since July 10th to try and get the save in the 4-3 game in the top of the ninth. Despite allowing the tying run aboard with a leadoff walk, Pressly retired the next three batters to finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. The expected pitching matchup is Triston McKenzie (1-3, 5.47 ERA) for Cleveland and Luis Garcia (6-5, 3.06 ERA) for Houston.

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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