Houston's winning streak moves to six

Eighth-inning rally powers Astros to series sweep over Rangers

Yuli Gurriel brought in the go-ahead run late in Sunday's game. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winners in the first three games of this series and their last five games overall, the Astros continued their climb towards the A's for first place in the AL West. They completed the four-game sweep, ending a successful homestand on a positive note before heading on the road.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 24-17, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brooks Raley (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez (1-2)

Astros strike first, McCullers Jr. goes six scoreless

After the Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Houston grabbed an early lead off the bat of Alex Bregman. He provided the third single of the inning, a one-out RBI to put the Astros in front 1-0, a score which would hold steady for a while. Another run didn't come across until the bottom of the fifth when Houston would load the bases with one out when Carlos Correa would get an RBI groundball to double the lead to 2-0.

Lance McCullers Jr. did well with the small lead, backing up his recent eight-inning gem with a quality start against Texas. He allowed a couple of hits each in the third and fourth but would erase the runners with no damage allowed. The Rangers threatened in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double before the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a great position with no outs. McCullers Jr. would come away unscathed, finishing the inning and his day by retiring the next three batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 95 P.

Rangers tie it against Scrubb

First out of Houston's bullpen was Andre Scrubb, and he would not fare as well as the Astros starter. A leadoff single turned into a two-run game-tying homer, making it 2-2 before Scrubb would sit down the next three in order. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Brooks Raley had a terrific inning, striking out the three batters he faced.

Houston rallies ahead in the eighth for the four-game sweep

The top of Houston's order mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to try and regain the lead. Yuli Gurriel would come through with the go-ahead at-bat, getting a sac fly to put the Astros back in front 3-2. A two-out walk loaded the bases again, setting up Chas McCormick to provide two insurance runs on a two-RBI single.

Myles Straw added one more on an RBI single, making it a four-run game at 6-2 heading to the ninth. Enoli Paredes made his long-awaited return from the IL, appearing for the first time since April 8th to try and close things out in the ninth. He tossed a scoreless inning, finishing off the four-game sweep, extending Houston's winning streak to six games, and keeping them in step with Oakland for the AL West lead.

Up Next: After a day off on Monday, the Astros will begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday. They'll kick off a three-game set in Oakland against the A's at 8:40 PM, an exciting matchup to determine who will head into the weekend atop the division. While Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) is the expected starter for Houston, Oakland has not yet determined their rotation for the series.

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TEXAS A&M VS. ALABAMA PREVIEW

Heading to Tuscaloosa, the Aggies are on a slippery slope

Alabama is up next for the Aggies. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

One step forward, two steps backward. That's how it has felt to be a Texas A&M football fan for the past 2 seasons. After a disappointing 2021 season which saw the Aggies as a preseason #7, only to wind up with an 8-4 record, the Maroon and White entered 2022 fresh off a #1 recruiting class and a preseason #6 ranking. Only five weeks into the season, the Ags are headed for another step backward after a lackluster performance against Mississippi State. Even after the loss to App State, there was still hope that A&M could right the ship in SEC play. However, after a trip to Starkville, the Aggies look on track to have their worst season in over a decade.

A&M struggled in Starkville, to say the least. They were shut out in the first half, special teams struggled, Max Johnson was getting abused behind a bad offensive line performance and the defense had their worst performance of the season. Mississippi State was the better team for the entire 60 min. If you’re Texas A&M and headman Jimbo Fisher trying to propel your program to the level of Alabama and Georgia in the SEC, you must beat teams like the Bulldogs. But every year under Fisher a team that Texas A&M is more talented than always seems to get the better of them. After yet another disappointing SEC loss, the Ags have more problems and questions it seems now than after the week two App State loss.

The biggest issue facing the Aggies in my opinion is the offense. It has been anemic all season long, ranking dead last in the SEC in total offense and 105th in the nation. Here in College Station, much of the conversation has been around Jimbo and his play calling. Much has been made about how complex his offense is and the many wrinkles and details his quarterbacks need to learn to be successful in it. My question is why? Why does it have to be so complicated? Why do his plays require such a level of execution that if one of the eleven men on the field misses an assignment, then it is doomed? In college football, it seems like the most prolific offenses are simple, straightforward and easy for the players to understand. This allows them to play with freedom and looseness to make plays. I am not saying I know anything more than Jimbo, trust me, but I do think a change on the offensive side is in order. Whether that means Jimbo changes his philosophy and system that he runs or if it means bringing in a new offensive coordinator to redefine his offense a la Nick Saban in 2014.

Speaking of Nick Saban, things don’t get easier for the falling Aggies as they travel to Tuscaloosa this coming Saturday for the much-anticipated rematch against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Unfortunately for Texas A&M, they’ll be without starting QB Max Johnson most likely, as he could be out with a hand injury. That means they will once again turn to Haynes King for a spark. King has been extremely turnover prone throughout his collegiate career, and for the Aggies to once again pull off the upset over Bama, King will need to limit turnovers. It will take a lot more to go right for the Aggies to hang into this game, but I expect this one to get ugly. The Crimson Tide handle business with a 45-14 win over Texas A&M.

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