Houston sits second in the division

Diamondbacks ride huge nine-run inning to win over Astros

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After their bats powered their way to a win in the opening game, Houston tried to secure the series win with a victory in Arizona on Wednesday Night. Here is a rundown of the middle game between the Astros and Diamondbacks:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 14, Astros 7.

Record: 6-5, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Robbie Ray (1-2, 9.45 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 9.22 ERA).

Astros jump out to early lead, Diamondbacks roar back with unreal inning

Houston wasted little time continuing where they left off the night before scoring runs against Arizona, getting after Robbie Ray in the second inning. Carlos Correa sparked things with a leadoff double before scoring on an RBI-single by Abraham Toro. Kyle Tucker scored two more runs in the next at-bat, crushing a two-run home run to give the Astros a 3-0 lead. Toro would drive in another run off of Ray in the top of the fourth, hitting a solo homer to extend the lead to 4-0.

After three perfect innings with the roof closed with eight of nine outs coming on groundouts, Lance McCullers Jr. ran into disaster in the fourth with the roof at Chase Field now open. After allowing the first hit of the night to Arizona, Kole Calhoun would hit a ball to the right-field fence, which would ricochet all back into center field, allowing him to complete an inside-the-park home run and cut the lead in half at 4-2.

Arizona would keep piling on, loading the bases to set up a bases-clearing triple to take a 5-4 lead, then an RBI-double to make it 6-4, still with no outs in the inning. After two outs, McCullers would allow one more run on an RBI-double before Dusty Baker would make the call to the bullpen. Nivaldo Rodriguez was the reliever who entered, but he would be unable to stop the bleeding, allowing an eighth run charged to McCullers and one of his own to make it 9-4. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR.

Both teams trade blows, but Arizona holds on for the win

Now down five runs, the Astros tried to start chipping away to get back into it. George Springer helped, hitting a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to cut it to a 9-6 lead for Arizona. Rodriguez remained on the mound for Houston for two outs in the bottom of the fifth, and Arizona would push the lead right back to five-runs with a two-run home run of their own, making it 11-6. Brandon Bailey would enter and get the final out of the fifth.

Bailey continued for a scoreless sixth but would see the Diamondbacks hit a dozen on the scoreboard with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the seventh, extending their lead to 12-6. Yuli Gurriel got that run back in the top of the eighth, hitting a solo home run to trim the deficit to 12-7.

In the bottom of the eighth, another Houston debut would take place with Carlos Sanabria making his first major-league appearance out of the bullpen. He would allow a two-run home run to make it 14-7 before the Astros would come up empty in the top of the ninth, giving Arizona the win and tying up the series 1-1.

Up Next: The series finale between Houston and Arizona will be Thursday at 6:07 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.70 ERA) for the Diamondbacks going against Brandon Bielak (2-0, 1.69 ERA), making his first career start for the Astros.

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The Coogs play Miami on Friday night. Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images.

Number one seed University of Houston is favored by 7.5 points over No. 5 Miami, and No. 2 University of Texas is favored by 4 over No. 3 Xavier Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Kansas City.

Talk about opening acts. If both UH and UT win, they’ll meet Sunday in a good ol’ WWE-style Texas death match for a berth in the Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston. Thank you, Mr. Schedule Maker.

How much do you think Cougar fans would love for UH to get their hands on the Longhorns with so much at stake?

For one example, let’s go back to the future, Oct. 21, 2023, when Big 12 rivals UH and UT meet in football at TDECU Stadium on the Houston campus. The game already is a lock sellout with tickets in the upper deck commanding $141 per ticket on the secondary market. It will be UH’s first year in the big boy Big 12 and UT’s last go-around before heading to the SEC.

One last opportunity for lasting bragging rights.

That’s for a UH football game. At home. Where the Cougars typically have trouble packing half the house. For example, the Cougars will be hosting the Sam Houston Bearkats at TDECU Stadium a month earlier. Tickets for that game, the same exact seat going for $141 against UT, can be had right now … $17.

Yeah, there’s something special about UH getting the opportunity to face UT. In anything. Anywhere. And it’s been a long time since the two teams, once co-members of the Southwest Conference together, have met on the basketball court. A full decade, in fact. The last time they played was March 20, 2013 with the Cougars prevailing 73-72 in something called the College Basketball Invitational. The UH coach was James Dickey. UT was coached by Rick Barnes. Joe Young led the Cougars with 18 points. The Horns’ leading scorer was Julien Lewis with 28. UH finished that season with a 20-13 record. UT limped home at 16-18.

That was then, this is now. The UH-Miami game will air at 6:10 p.m. Friday on CBS with UH grad Jim Nantz calling the play-by-play. The game will alsO stream on Hulu +++. ESPN’s BPI (basketball power index) gives the Cougars a 90 percent chance of winning. We’ll take it.

The UT-Xavier game will follow at 8:45 p.m. on CBS. The Horns have a 70 percent chance of beating the Musketeers. If both chalks come through, they’ll meet Sunday afternoon with the game on CBS.

The Cougars have made six Final Four appearances: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984, 2021. The Horns have made three Final Fours, the last time two decades ago.

Here’s the only sure bet if UH and UT meet Sunday - get to your sports bar early if you want a seat. This could be memorable.

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