Houston's first loss of the postseason

Oakland forces Game 4 by outslugging Astros in ALDS Game 3

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Undefeated thus far in the postseason, including the first two games of this best-of-five ALDS, the Astros could sweep the Oakland A's and advance to the ALCS for their fourth-straight year with a win in Game 3. Here is how the game unfolded Wednesday:

Final Score: A's 9, Astros 7.

Series: HOU leads 2-1.

Winning Pitcher: Liam Hendriks.

Losing Pitcher: Brooks Raley.

Teams trade early runs before A's homer their way to a lead

Oakland came out swinging in a must-win game against Jose Urquidy and would get on the board first as they switched to being the visitor team at Dodger Stadium. It came via a one-out solo home run by Tommy La Stella in the top of the first, netting the A's a quick 1-0 lead.

Houston responded right away in the bottom of the first, getting a one-out solo homer of their own by Jose Altuve to tie the game. They then took their first lead, getting an RBI-groundout by Carlos Correa to score Michael Brantley, who singled then moved to third on an Alex Bregman single.

Oakland would continue to pepper the scoreboard with solo home runs against Urquidy, though, with one in the top of the second, fourth, and fifth innings to regain the lead at 4-2, and chasing him out of the game in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 4 HR, 79 P.

Houston scores five in the fifth, A's tie it up again

After Blake Taylor would load the bases but strand them to finish the top of the fifth for Urquidy, the Astros went to work in the bottom half. They would put together a five-run bottom of the fifth, starting with a two-run homer by Aledmys Diaz to tie the game, followed by RBI hits for Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, and Kyle Tucker, pushing the Astros in front 7-4.

Josh James was next out of Houston's bullpen for the top of the sixth and would erase a leadoff walk to keep the three-run lead. He returned for the top of the seventh, but the top of Oakland's order would knock him out with back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a game-tying three-run homer by Chad Pinder to make it 7-7.

Oakland forces Game 4

Brooks Raley took over for James, getting the next three A's out in order, ending the half-inning. Like James before him, Raley would return to try and go another inning but would get tagged by Oakland, who would get two sac flies in the inning to go in front 9-7.

Houston would get the first two batters aboard in the bottom of the eighth but would strand both as Oakland retired the next three batters. Andre Scrubb was able to keep it a two-run game with a scoreless top of the ninth, but Liam Hendriks would complete his third inning of work for Oakland and finish off the win for the A's to force a Game 4.

Up Next: ALDS Game 4 will start at 2:35 PM Central on Thursday. The Astros will remain the home team for another game, with Oakland batting first as the visitors. The starting pitchers have not yet been announced.

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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