Houston gets the win

Astros overpower Rangers in series opener

Astros' Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucer
Kyle Tucker had a big homer in the middle of Houston's offensive outburst in Friday's game against the Rangers.Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Kyle Tucker had a big homer in the middle of Houston's offensive outburst in Friday's game against the Rangers.

After starting their second half 3-3 with a series loss against the White Sox and win over the Indians, the Astros welcomed in the Rangers to try and improve their record and stay on pace in front of the A's in the AL West. Thanks to two big innings in Friday's opener, they would grab a win to start this three-game installment of the Silver Boot Series.

Final Score: Astros 7, Rangers 3

Astros' Record: 59-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-3)

Losing Pitcher: Kolby Allard (2-8)

Houston breaks it open early

After two scoreless innings on both sides, the Astros broke the seal, and the game open, in the third and the fourth innings. In the bottom of the third, Houston loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk, setting up an RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI ground ball by Carlos Correa, then three-run homer by Kyle Tucker, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. They tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on second and third before an RBI groundout by Michael Brantley and a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel, extending the lead to 7-0.

Odorizzi runs into trouble in the fifth

That gave Jake Odorizzi a clear path to a win. Yet, after four scoreless innings, he would struggle in the fifth, getting two strikeouts to start the frame but then allowed three runs on three hits and a walk, making it 7-3 and prompting Dusty Baker to bring in Brandon Bielak to finish the inning. Odorizzi's final line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 86 P.

Astros take the opener

After recording the last out of the fifth for Odorizzi, Bielak retired seven of the eight batters he faced, getting through the seventh inning out of the bullpen for Houston and maintaining the four-run lead. Blake Taylor was the next reliever out, and he erased a two-out walk and a single to complete a scoreless top of the eighth. Cristian Javier came in to close things out in the top of the ninth, tossing a 1-2-3 frame to finish off the victory.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will get started at 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Framber Valdez (5-2, 3.26 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (6-2, 2.86 ERA) is slated to go for the Rangers.

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The Texans are releasing corner Shaq Griffin. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

One of the big factors that led to the Texans' loss to the Jaguars on Sunday was the secondary. Multiple flags for pass interference gave Jacksonville more opportunities to pick up first downs and score points.

So it's no surprise that DeMeco Ryans is making some changes to his defense this week. According to several reports, Texans corner Shaq Griffin has been cut.

Nickel corner Tavierre Thomas was flagged for PI more than once on Sunday, and was burned badly by Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley for a touchdown.

DeMeco was asked after the game if he considered replacing Thomas with Desmond King or Shaq Griffin. Ryans didn't give a definitive answer, but it looks like we got one today.

One has to wonder if Desmond Kings' experience playing nickel was the reason for his promotion to the active roster and why Griffin was released. If Thomas continues to struggle, King looks like the next man up to replace him.

The Texans also made some other adjustments to their roster on Wednesday, per Aaron Wilson. Linebacker Denzel Perryman returns from suspension, kicker Matt Ammendola and linebacker Garret Wallow join the practice squad. They also released Gerrid Doaks from the practice squad.

The other big piece of news involves left guard Tytus Howard. He heads to injured reserve, ending his season after hurting his knee against Jacksonville.

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