Houston has won five in a row

Correa, Bielak lead Astros to win over Rockies, extend winning streak to five

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Riding a four-game winning streak and having won five of their last six, the Astros welcomed the 13-8 Rockies to Minute Maid Park on Monday. The two teams were set to face each other for four-straight games, with two in Houston then two in Denver. Here is a quick rundown of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rockies 1.

Record: 12-10, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-0, 1.69 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Kyle Freeland (2-1, 2.56 ERA).

Correa strikes first as Bielak goes six solid innings

Houston wasted no time getting on the board, getting an early rally started with two outs in the bottom of the first. With a runner already on base, Yuli Gurriel delivered a single to put runners on first and third, then Carlos Correa drove them in with a two-RBI double to give the Astros the quick 2-0 lead.

Trevor Story cut that lead in half in the top of the third, hammering a solo home run to make it 2-1. That would be the only hit Bielak allowed over his six innings of work, putting together another solid start to hold down a potent Rockies offense. His final line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

Houston's bullpen holds on to the one-run lead

Brooks Raley took over for Bielak to pitch the top of the seventh, maintaining the one-run lead with a 1-2-3 inning. The Astros threatened to add insurance runs in the bottom of the inning but would strand two runners to keep it a one-run game. Raley would face one more batter, getting a strikeout to start the top of the eighth before Dusty Baker brought in Josh James, who would finish the inning.

After another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth by the Astros, that sent the game to the ninth, where Blake Taylor would come on for the save opportunity. He would convert it, working around a leadoff single to extend Houston's winning streak to five games and keeping them in second place in the division.

Up Next: These two teams will play Tuesday at 2:10 PM Central in the afternoon to allow time after for their flights to Denver for the other half of this series. The starters for the game will be Zack Greinke (1-0, 2.53 ERA) for the Astros and Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 3.91 ERA) for the Rockies.

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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