Houston falls to New York

Disaster in the sixth for Astros as Yankees take series opener

Zack Greinke had another disappointing start on Tuesday. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

With victories in their last three series, going 8-3 in that eleven-game span, the Astros traveled to The Bronx to take on the Yankees, and a very energized crowd, at Yankee Stadium for a three-game set. After an exciting back-and-forth early, the Yankees would get a big inning to put things out of reach for Houston, handing them a loss in the opener.

Final Score: Yankees 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 15-14, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lucas Luetge (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-1)

Teams trade blows early as Greinke has another forgettable outing

Having been met by boos both in pre-game and in their first at-bats in the top of the first inning, Alex Bregman quickly did his best to silence them by giving Houston a 1-0 lead with a solo home run. New York promptly responded, pounding Zack Greinke in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff single turned into a two-run home run by Giancarlo Stanton; then the Yankees loaded the bases still with no outs. Greinke would limit the damage to one run, but before it was all said and done would have used 31 pitches.

The 3-1 score held until the top of the fourth when a one-out bomb by Michael Brantley into the upper deck cut the deficit to one run. Later that same inning, Yordan Alvarez singled then scored to tie the game on a ground-rule double by Yuli Gurriel that narrowly missed being a homer. Zack Greinke would finish his third consecutive scoreless inning in the bottom of the fourth, but that would be the end of his night: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 84 P.

Disaster in the sixth

Brandon Bielak would take over for him in the bottom of the fifth, erasing a one-out double to maintain the tie score. He returned in the bottom of the sixth, getting two outs while putting runners on the corners before Dusty Baker would bring in Bryan Abreu.

Disaster would ensue, as a poorly called strike zone resulted in a walk to load the bases, followed by a groundball by DJ LeMaheiu that would be thrown wide by Alex Bregman to Yuli Gurriel, bringing in two runs easily, then a third that resulted in a collision by Rougned Odor into Martin Maldonado, taking both out of the game. Stanton would bring in another on an RBI single to make it 7-3 before Abreu would eventually get the third out.

Yankees take the opener

Andre Scrubb was the next reliever for Houston, working around two walks for a scoreless inning. Joe Smith had the eighth and also put up a zero despite loading the bases on two singles and a walk. Houston came up empty in the top of the ninth, as New York would take the first of this three-game series.

Up Next: The Astros and Yankees will meet for another 6:05 PM Central start on Wednesday. Houston will look to Luis Garcia (0-3, 2.70 ERA) to try and get his first win of the season, while New York will send Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 4.39 ERA) to the mound.

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It more of the same from the Houston Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Sunday afternoon provided a high-res snapshot of the state of Houston sports. The Astros, already assured of the best record in the American League, played a game they didn’t need to win. The Astros won, ho-hum, their 104th win of the season.

Meanwhile, eight miles away, the Texans, mired in last place with fan support dwindling, played a game they really needed to win. The Texans lost 34-24 to the Los Angeles Chargers in front of (giggle) 69,071 fans at NRG Stadium. The Texans really ought to stop saying the stands are packed. Every time a team punts, and cameras follow the ball skyward, there are thousands of empty seats on display. I know the NFL methodology for determining attendance, (total tickets sold, no-shows don’t count) but it just looks silly when the Texans announce 69,000 fans.

The Texans came close as usual before sputtering to another defeat. The Texans now stand at 0-3-1, the only winless team in the NFL. It’s the second time in three years they’ve started a season without a victory after four games. It’s telling to note that not one of the Texans opponents has a winning record for 2022.

In other words, the Texans have played four games they shoulda/coulda won. Shouda against the Colts, Broncos and Bears, and coulda against the Chargers.

Should/coulda four wins. Instead, none.

That’s the Texans. They’re in every game but can’t close the deal. Yeah, yeah, on Monday we hear, “the Texans are playing hard for coach Lovie Smith” and “they’re competitive” and “they’re a young team.” These are NFL equivalents of a participation trophy.

Sunday’s loss to the Chargers at NRG Stadium was straight out of the Texans playbook. Fall behind, make it interesting, lose. The Texans stuck to their script, timid play calling, momentum-crushing penalties (nine for 67 yards), self-inflicted drops, lackluster quarterbacking and Rex Burkhead on the field for crunch time. After one play where a Texan player was called for holding, the announcer said, “and he did a poor job of holding.”

Statuesque quarterback David Mills keeps saying “we’re in a good spot” and “we’re improving.” Statuesque as in he doesn’t move – or barely moves to avoid sacks. Sunday saw his first touchdown pass to a wide receiver. He’s now thrown four interceptions in the past two games. Let’s go to the tote board: 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 4 fumbles, 11 sacks, qbr rating 28.5 – good for 28th in the league.

A bright spot, sort of. This was the first week the Texans didn’t cover the spread. They’re now 1-2-1 against Vegas oddsmakers, meaning you’ve won money if you took the Texans all four weeks. They head to Jacksonville next as early 6.5-point underdogs.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s brilliant quarterback Bryce Young, who will be available for the Texans when they draft first in 2023 (as Paul Heyman says, that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler), suffered a shoulder injury last Saturday. The Texans need to take out a Lloyds of London insurance policy on Young.

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