WORLD SERIES GAME 7

ASTROS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!

Finally, the Astros are World Series champions. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Finally. After fifty-five years of waiting and after enduring and winning amazing postseason battles in the ALCS and World Series, the Houston Astros are the 2017 MLB Champions and have fulfilled their promise to be Houston Strong and make Houston proud.

The Astros jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in Game 7 and never looked back, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 and taking the World Series 4-3. George Springer highlighted the offense with a two-run home run in the second while Charlie Morton pitched four amazing innings of relief to finish the game and seal the amazing end to a magical season.

Springer led off Game 7 with a double into the left-field corner in the top of the first, then scored on an error by Cody Bellinger as he tried to throw out Alex Bregman at first on a ground ball intended to move Springer to third. Bregman advanced to second on the error, then stole third before scoring on an RBI groundout by Jose Altuve, putting the Astros up 2-0 early before Yu Darvish could end the half inning. In the bottom of the inning, Lance McCullers Jr. allowed a leadoff double to Chris Taylor, then loaded the bases after hitting Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig. He was able to leave all three stranded after a groundout to preserve the lead and end the first inning.

In the top of the second, Brian McCann worked a leadoff walk after being down 0-2 to Darvish, then moved to third on a double by Marwin Gonzalez. McCann would score on an RBI groundout from McCullers to extend the lead to 3-0. Springer was up next and continued his amazing World Series with a two-run homer to make it 5-0 Astros, and for the second time in this series end Darvish's night early. Brandon Morrow took over for the Dodgers and was able to get the third out. McCullers put runners on again after a leadoff single by Logan Forsythe and then a one-out walk to Kike Hernandez but was able to get out of the trouble with some excellent defense behind him including the inning-ending double play by Correa.

Already willing to bring out the big guns, the Dodgers brought out Clayton Kershaw in relief in the top of the third inning. Kershaw as able to get the first 1-2-3 inning for Los Angeles including a strikeout. McCullers once again got into a stressful situation in the bottom of the inning, allowing another leadoff hit before hitting Turner for the second time, putting runners on first and second with no outs. McCullers was able to get a strikeout for the first out before A.J. Hinch made the call to his bullpen, bringing in Brad Peacock. Peacock was able to get a flyout and strikeout to end the inning and strand two more Dodgers runners as the Astros took their 5-0 lead into the fourth.

Kershaw was able to get through another inning in the top of the fourth, working around a one-out single by Marwin Gonzalez with a groundout and flyout. Peacock continued to do well, retiring the Dodgers in order including a strikeout to keep the Astros' five-run advantage intact after four innings.

Kershaw continued to dominate in the top of the fifth, getting two strikeouts in another 1-2-3 inning. Peacock issued a one-out walk to Corey Seager then a single to Turner, putting runners on first and second and prompting A.J. Hinch to bring in Francisco Liriano to face the left-handed Bellinger. Bellinger grounded out for the second out, then Chris Devenski came in and got the final out of the inning to keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard.

Carlos Correa led off the sixth with a single, then advanced to second on a groundout by Yuli Gurriel, then third on a groundout by McCann, but was left stranded as Kershaw intentionally walked the next two batters before getting the pinch-hitting Cameron Maybin to pop out to keep the Astros from adding to their lead. Morton took the mound for Houston in the bottom of the inning and allowed a leadoff single and no-out walk. The Dodgers then got their first run of the night on an RBI single from Andre Ethier, making a 5-1 game. Morton bounced back from it getting a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.

Kenley Jansen was next on the mound for the Dodgers in the top of the seventh and worked around a two-out walk to Altuve to get through the half inning. Morton returned in the bottom of the inning and was able to get through the heart of the Dodger's lineup on just eleven pitches to send the game into the eighth.

Alex Wood was next out of the Dodger's bullpen and was able to throw a scoreless, hitless inning in the top of the eighth. Morton returned for another inning of work in the bottom of the inning and was able to get through it by retiring the Dodgers in order and putting the Astros three outs away from the trophy.

Wood continued on in the top of the ninth and had another 1-2-3 inning to send the game to the bottom of the ninth. Down to their last chance, the Dodgers were unable to get anything done against as Morton went on to retire the Dodgers down in order including a groundout to seal the deal and begin the celebration over five decades in the making. 

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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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