ROUGH DAY FOR HOUSTON SPORTS

Chiefs once again remind Texans what a real championship contender looks like

Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

It was an unprecedented day in Houston sports history Thursday as for the first time its three major professional teams all played meaningful games on the same day. THUD, THUD, THUD. In reverse chronological order of play Thursday:

The Texans returned to the scene of the crime to kickoff the NFL season Thursday night, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City site of their thorough playoff collapse back in January. They pretty much picked up where they left off. Unlike the postseason debacle where they led 24-nothing before epically unraveling, this time the Texans took only a 7-nothing lead before getting destroyed the rest of the way. The Chiefs are the reigning Super Bowl champs with good reason and are going to beat most of the teams they play, but the Texans took a two-by-four to the forehead reminding all how far away they are from real championship contender status. In less than seven quarters of football from early second quarter of the playoff game to before the Texans scored two garbage time touchdowns Thursday night, the Chiefs obliterated the Texans 82-14.

The offensive line with all five starters back, underwhelmed. The Chiefs applied persistent pass rush heat on Deshaun Watson resulting in four sacks with more avoided thanks to Watson's greased pig elusiveness. The Texans had basically no downfield passing game.

Next up for the Texans are the Ravens at fan-less NRG Stadium. Then they play at Pittsburgh, then home vs. the Vikings. So 0-4 out of the gate is absolutely in play. If the games were decided by which team has the better head coach and general manager, 0-4 would be more than in play.

Rockets down 3-1

From down three games to one perhaps the Rockets have a dramatic series comeback in them. Stop laughing! Sports happen. But the better bet is that General Manager Daryl Morey's "we should win this thing" proclamation is going down as laughably and arrogantly not even close. The Rockets are good. The Lakers are clearly better. They have the two best players in the series in LeBron James and Anthony Davis and there is nothing the Rockets can do about that.

In games two and three the Lakers squashed the Rockets in the fourth quarter, in game four it was settled by halftime. The Lakers relaxed and got lazy and dumb (led by LeBron) which enabled the Rockets to close within five with just under a minute left, but that was that. The story is that the Laker defense has disrupted and flummoxed the Rocket three point bombs away attack, and defensively the Rockets way too often opened a can of quit. Sometimes when taking an ass-kicking a team can look like it gave up or didn't show up, when really it's just a matter of getting vastly outplayed. That after game four neither James Harden nor Russell Westbrook neither denied a lack of team intensity nor had an explanation for it is an indictment of a pseudo-contender.

Harden turned 31 last month, Westbrook turns 32 in November, Eric Gordon turns 32 Christmas Day, P.J. Tucker is 35. It's been a quarter century since the Rockets last won the Western Conference. There is no good reason to think the drought ends any year soon.

Astros go down swinging

We can stick a giant fork in the Astros' run as American League West champion. It's done. A miserable 1-8 road trip leaves the Astros' breathing Oakland Athletics' exhaust fumes. If the A's improbably play just .500 ball, the Astros have to go undefeated the rest of the way to win the division. At 22-23 the Astros remain highly likely to make the playoffs, though only because of the expanded format attached to this 60 game season. With 15 games to play the Astros enter the weekend just two games ahead of Seattle for second in the AL West. After two with the Dodgers the Astros final 13 games are all vs. losing teams, three of those are at Seattle. Blowing a playoff spot to the Mariners would be an embarrassment. Barring that development, the Astros will still pose a very legitimate threat to any team they face in an AL playoff series. But that bullpen that if playing darts would often miss the dartboard entirely…

Buzzer Beaters:

1. We await resolution on the Danuel House story. If his denial of wrongdoing is as accurate as Morey's prognosticating appears right now, House was an immature and irresponsible chump of a teammate and professional. If is a very important word.

2. There probably will be an upset or at least a scare of one, but as matchups go there isn't one college football game worth watching Saturday.

3. Andy Reid is a great coach. As an athlete, he's a great coach (though he did play at BYU). Greatest athlete Andys: Bronze-Pettitte Silver-Murray Gold-Robustelli

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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