Houston beats Minnesota in game one

Astros take seesaw opener over Twins with late runs

Yuli Gurriel had one of the big hits in the back-and-forth game with the Twins Friday night. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After taking two of three in Boston, Houston arrived at Target Field in Minneapolis to take on the Twins for the last leg of this road trip. The opener provided plenty of excitement, with the teams going back-and-forth throughout the night before the Astros' offense would finally get the final blow in the ninth inning to grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 6, Twins 4

Astros' Record: 36-27, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Matt Shoemaker (2-8)

Astros and Twins trade blows

The ball was carrying in the air in Friday's opener, and both teams took advantage early. Nelson Cruz started things off in the bottom of the first, hitting a solo shot off of Jose Urquidy to give Minnesota the early 1-0 lead. Miguel Sano doubled that with a solo homer in the next inning, but Houston would get some traffic on the bags to set up a sac fly by Alex Bregman to cut it in half at 2-1.

The teams traded homers in the subsequent few frames, with Josh Donaldson launching one in the bottom of the third, Jose Altuve getting one in the top of the fifth, and Yuli Gurriel putting one over the fence to lead off the top of the sixth, all solo homers. That tied the game at 3-3, which held until the top of the seventh when Houston would get runners in scoring position to set up an RBI groundout by Alex Bregman, giving the Astros their first lead of the night.

Urquidy turns things around for a quality start

That also put Jose Urquidy in a winning position for the first time. After allowing a solo home run in each of the first three innings, he turned things around with four scoreless after that, allowing just one hit over that span and keeping the work needed from Houston's sporadic bullpen limited. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8K, 103 P.

Houston wins the battle

Unfortunately for Urquidy, his bullpen would not finish things scoreless to keep him in line for the win as Ryne Stanek entered in the bottom of the eighth and gave up the fourth solo homer of the night and second to Josh Donaldson to tie the game 4-4. Houston broke the tie in their favor again in the top of the ninth, with Myles Straw reaching base with a leadoff single, moving to second on a passed ball, then scoring the go-ahead run on an RBI double by Martin Maldonado.

Maldonado came in to make it 6-4 after moving to third on a lineout, then scoring on an RBI single by Michael Brantley. That presented a save opportunity for Ryan Pressly, who entered in the bottom of the ninth to try and put away his former team. He converted the save, tossing a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the two-run win for the Astros, giving them a chance to secure another series with a win on Saturday in game two of three.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will get started at 6:15 PM Central on Saturday. Luis Garcia (5-3, 2.75 ERA) will try to keep his dominant stretch alive for the Astros, having notched five wins in five starts, going opposite Jose Berrios (6-2, 3.58 ERA) for the Twins.

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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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