Houston gets back in the win column

Astros snap losing streak with extra-inning win over Royals

Chas McCormick drove in three runs in Houston's win over the Royals on Thursday. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Entering Thursday's finale as losers of their last four games, the Astros were entering desperation mode for a win to turn the tide. With the Royals already securing the series victory by taking the first three, Houston was able to salvage a game to at least grab some forward momentum and keep the A's at bay in the AL West standings.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 6, Royals 3

Astros' Record: 71-50, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryan Pressly (5-1)

Losing Pitcher: Wade Davis (0-3)

Houston ends up in an early hole as Garcia gives up three runs over five

Things looked bleak for the Astros early, with the Royals putting up a 3-0 lead over the first three frames against Luis Garcia. They scored in the bottom of the first, getting a leadoff single, then later in the inning, a sac fly to go ahead 1-0. They tacked on two more in the bottom of the third, working a leadoff walk to set up a two-out, two-run homer to make it a three-run lead.

After Houston got one of the runs back on an RBI groundout by Chas McCormick to make it 3-1, Luis Garcia rebounded and held the Royals to their two-run lead. He tossed scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, finishing his day a bit early as he continued to have his inning and pitch count limited. His final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 70 P.

McCormick ties it up, game heads to extras

However, Garcia's offense would get him off the hook, putting together a successful top of the sixth. They knocked three-straight one-out hits, starting with a single by Carlos Correa, followed by an RBI double by Aledmyz Diaz and game-tying RBI double by Chas McCormick, his second RBI of the day.

The 3-3 score held through the rest of the scheduled innings, with Phil Maton first out of the Astros bullpen and giving his team two scoreless innings, allowing just a walk over that span. Ryne Stanek was the next reliever out, and he erased a one-out single to keep the score tied to the ninth, where after a scoreless top half by Houston's offense, Ryan Pressly got out of a two-runner jam to force extras.

Astros snap their losing streak

The Astros took advantage of the free runner in the top of the tenth, loading the bases on a single and a walk before Aledmys Diaz broke the tie with a single to give Houston their first lead of the day, 4-3. McCormick was next up and would again provide a big at-bat, working a walk to double the lead to two runs; before later, a pinch-hitting Taylor Jones would add one more on a sac fly, making it 6-3 going to the home half.

Cristian Javier came out of the bullpen in the bottom of the tenth, and he retired the side 1-2-3 to finish off the win for the Astros. Houston salvages a game in the series, and with the A's winning earlier in the afternoon, keeps the Astros' lead in the AL West at 2.5 games heading into the weekend.

Up Next: The Astros will return home to start a homestand on Friday night, beginning with a three-game series against the Mariners. In the opener at 7:10 PM Central, Lance McCullers Jr. (9-4, 3.22 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston, while Yusei Kikuchi (7-6, 3.82 ERA) is expected to start for Seattle.

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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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