Houston takes Game 1

Correa homers twice as Astros power past A's in ALDS Game 1

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With the two-game sweep of the Twins in the ALWC series, the Astros earned their spot into the divisional series. Their opponent in their ALDS, the AL West champions, the Oakland A's. However, with MLB's "bubble" in effect, Dodger Stadium was their home for the next three to five days. Here is a recap of Game 1:

Final Score: Astros 10, A's 5.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Winning Pitcher: Blake Taylor.

Losing Pitcher: J.B. Wendelken.

Early, frantic scoring knocks both starters out early

The scoring started early in Game 1, and at a frantic pace. The A's broke the seal, getting their first baserunner against Lance Mccullers Jr. wit ha one-out walk in the bottom of the second, setting up a two-run home run by Khris Davis to take the early 2-0 lead. Sean Murphy pushed the lead to three with a solo homer to start the bottom of the third, putting the Astros in early trouble.

Houston responded quickly, though, getting a solo shot by Alex Bregman to lead off the fourth, followed by a Kyle Tucker single to set up a two-run bomb by Carlos Correa to tie the game 3-3. Houston started the fifth with back-to-back singles, knocking Chris Bassitt out of the game, but both runners would stay put.

Oakland continued attacking McCullers Jr, getting a go-ahead solo homer by Matt Olson in the bottom of the fourth. They threatened for more, getting runners on second and third with no outs, but would strand both. McCullers Jr. would come back out for the fifth, but after a leadoff single would prompt a visit by Dusty Baker, who would move on to his bullpen. Blake Taylor would enter and complete the inning, but not before allowing the runner to score on a sac fly, making it a 5-3 Oakland lead. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 HR, 75 P.

Astros put up four in the sixth

Down two runs, the Astros were able to get an extended inning in the top of the sixth with Josh Reddick reaching base on a two-out error. That spurred a rally by Houston, who would get four-straight hits, including an RBI-double by George Springer, a go-ahead two-RBI single by Jose Altuve, then an RBI-single by Michael Brantley, giving Houston a 7-5 lead before the dust settled.

After Taylor finished the fifth, Enoli Paredes was next out of Houston's bullpen and tossed a perfect bottom of the sixth. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa hit his second home run of the day, extending the lead to 8-5. Paredes stayed in the game for the bottom of the inning, retiring three more Oakland batters in order.

Houston takes Game 1

Cristian Javier took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth to try and keep the Astros in front heading to the ninth. He would do his job, erasing a leadoff walk to keep it a three-run game. Houston tacked on insurance in the top of the ninth, getting an RBI-single by Carlos Correa, his fourth run driven in on the day, and a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel, making it a five-run lead at 10-5. Even though it was no longer a save situation, the Astros still brought in Ryan Pressly in the bottom of the ninth, who retired Oakland 1-2-3 to finish off the victory.

Up Next: Game 2 of this ALDS will get underway on Tuesday at 3:37 PM Central, again from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Oakland will be the home team and will send Sean Manaea to the mound, while the Astros as visitors will start Framber Valdez.

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Watson's accusers appeared on Real Sports on Tuesday night. Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images.

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’s heavily promoted and much anticipated examination of Deshaun Watson’s legal mess involving alleged sexual misconduct shed little new light and merely presented a summary of well worn he said/she (x22) said accusations and denials.

The episode debuted Tuesday night on the premium cable service and will be repeated dozens of times throughout the week on HBO’s platforms. Check your local listings for times and channel.

The segment was hosted by Soledad O’Brien who presented compelling face-to-face interviews with two of the quarterback’s accusers: massage therapists Ashley Solis and Kyla Hayes. Their stories were detailed and graphic. Both cried during the interviews.

Solis: “As I’m working, he deliberately grabs himself and put his penis on my hand. I pulled my hand away instantly and I started crying. I told that I’m done. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Solis said she felt threatened when Watson, before leaving the session, allegedly told her: “I know you have a career to protect, and I know that you don’t want anyone messing with it, just like I don’t want anyone messing with mine.”

Solis added, “That’s when I got really scared because that sounded like a threat to me.”

Hayes: “He wanted me to kind of make a V motion in his pelvic area. I just kept massaging and did what he asked, until his penis kept touching me repeatedly as I did it.”

Hayes said that Watson had an orgasm, which she said was “mortifying, embarrassing and disgusting.”

O’Brien asked Hayes why she continued to have contact via email with Watson after their encounter.

Hayes: "I wasn't sure what he was capable of. He could've physically assaulted me. He could've bashed my business, so I had to protect myself and my business the best way I saw fit. Did I ever see him again after that? No. Did I give him the runaround? Yes."

O’Brien pointed out that two separate grand juries in Texas heard criminal accusations against Watson and neither found enough evidence to indict him.

Solis and Hayes, and 20 other massage therapists have filed civil suits against Watson. The cases aren’t expected to reach a courtroom until next March. Both sides could reach a settlement before then which would effectively shut down any legal action against Watson. However, both sides say they aren’t interested in any pretrial settlements. That’s what they say now, anyway.

After being banished to the sidelines for the 2021 season by the Houston Texans, Watson signed a historic, 5-year fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Hayes said she feels Watson “is being rewarded for bad behavior." Solis said, "It's just like a big screw you. That's what it feels like. That we (the Browns) don't care. He can run and throw, and that's what we care about.”

Watson currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Browns and, at the moment, is cleared to play the upcoming NFL season.

That is unless the NFL suspends Watson for some, most or all of the 2022 season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league is nearing completion of its independent investigation into Watson’s case and will reach a decision “shortly,” probably this summer. The NFL and NFL Players Association mutually agreed to have former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decide whether or not Watson violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and what discipline should be handed down if he did.

The Browns are scheduled to play the Texans on Dec. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

O’Brien said, while producing the Real Sports piece, she tried to interview Watson, his attorneys and the Cleveland Browns for their side of the story. All declined.

During a press conference in March to announce his joining the Browns, Watson denied any inappropriate behavior with the massage therapists.

Watson: “I never assaulted any woman. I’ve never disrespected any woman. I was raised to be genuine and respect everyone around me. I’ve never done the thing that these people are alleging. My mom and my aunties didn’t raise me that way.”

Leah Graham, a member of Watson’s legal team, sat for an interview after O’Brien’s segment was complete.

Graham: "It's 22 women. It's one lawyer. There's only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. (Houston attorney Tony) Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why? Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”

My reaction after watching the Real Sports segment? We weren’t in the room when the massage therapists worked on Watson. We weren’t in the grand jury room when evidence against Watson was presented. We don’t know what happened. We don’t know what will happen if these cases go to trial.

Until then all we have is one big, lurid, embarrassing mess. In American courtrooms, defendants are presumed innocent. That’s often the opposite in the court of public opinion. We’ll just have to wait while the wheels of justice grind painfully slow.

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