Houston gets shutout again

Gerrit Cole dominates the Astros with a complete-game shutout in return to Houston

Gerrit Cole dominated his former team on Saturday night to give the Yankees the win. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With their temporarily struggling offense resulting in back-to-back losses including the opener of this series, the Astros tried to right the ship in the middle game on Saturday to keep the series win in play. Gerrit Cole would not allow it, though, as he would put on an incredible performance to keep Houston's bats cold, locking up the series for the Yankees.

Final Score: Yankees 1, Astros 0

Astros' Record: 54-35, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Zack Greinke (8-3)

Greinke exits early, Judge scores the only early run against him

Whether it was planned or due to something unseen, Zack Greinke would go just four innings in this start against the Yankees. Over that span, he only had one mistake, a hanging pitch to Aaron Judge in the top of the third which he sent out of the ballpark for New York's first run, giving them a 1-0 lead which, with Gerrit Cole's performance, felt like enough. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 65 P.

Cole dominates in his return to Houston with a complete-game shutout

The 1-0 lead felt much larger than that with Cole keeping the Astros' bats at bay over an impressive start. He didn't face a baserunner at all until a walk in the bottom of the fourth, and inning after inning continued to extend Houston's scoreless streak. After Greinke's night was done, Cristian Javier entered for Houston to try and eat up some innings, and he would do his job well. He erased a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth for a scoreless inning, as well as a single in the top of the sixth, He gave his team one more inning, a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, finishing three impressive innings to maintain the one-run deficit.

Ryne Stanek was next, and thanks to an inning-ending double play he was able to work around a leadoff single and one-out walk to strand the runners and keep it 1-0. With it still stuck at that score in the top of the ninth, Houston brought in closer Ryan Pressly to give their offense one more chance in the home half of the inning. Surprisingly, Cole returned to the mound for New York in the bottom of the ninth, entering with 112 pitches. After a leadoff single, he would get two outs, reaching 126 pitches, and turned Yankees manager Aaron Boone away when he tried to come and get the ball from him. He would make it the right decision, as with his 129th pitch he would strike out Yordan Alvarez to finish the complete-game shutout.

Up Next: The finale of this series and the "first half" of the season before the All-Star break will be a 1:10 PM Central Start on Sunday. The Astros will hand the ball to Framber Valdez (5-1, 2.86 ERA) while the Yankees will send Jameson Taillon (4-4, 5.05 ERA) to the mound.

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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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