BARRY WARNER'S VIEW

Off the top of my bald head: Texans get a much-needed win over Cardinals

Andre Johnson honored by the Texans Bob Levey/Getty Images

When I checked out the flip card before the game and saw the name of the marquee referee Ed Hochuli one thing came to mind. Who in the hell did he piss off at the league office to get a crapola game between two injury depleted teams?

The Texans ended their three-game losing streak with a 31-21 win in front of a lackluster crowd and about 15,000 empty seats.

Imagine what attendance would have been if it was not Andre Johnson’s induction as the first member of the Ring of Honor.

For the first time in a month, we did not hear the usual Bill O’Brien “It’s on me or I have to do a better job of coaching” after a game.

Tom Savage turnovers gave Arizona two touchdowns, threw for a pair of scores and finished the day 22-of-32 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and a 97.1 passer rating. For the first time the tough, honest kid from Pitt showed leadership. In spite of poor field position there was a different air about No. 3.  Savage channeled his inner Deshaun Watson, buying time, extending the pocket with his feet

The touchdown pass to DAndre Hopkins over Patrick Peterson belongs in the Museum of Fine Throws, a perfect strike.

It’s always a treat to watch the best against the best. Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson in man coverage against D-Hop.  The Texans acrobatic receiver caught four passes for 76 yards and one score. D-Hop also made a pair of spectacular grabs, but did not have not feet inbounds.

Texans PR staff opened windows in press box for final two minutes of first half to hear the halftime tribute to the classy, non-diva Johnson. For a moment time stood still, like the days at the Astrodome before the sterile atmosphere on Sundays.

With a classy tribute, Dre came out of the tunnel, surrounded by former teammates on either side to the podium. Cheers continued when the McNair family was introduced.  But with the windows opened, we heard the fans booing of Rick Smith McNair. That is a first in my years covering sports in Houston, a city that had its share of incompetent decision makers.

Must be nice to have a gig with that type of job security.

Video tributes from Charley Casserly, original Texans GM, Gary Kubiak, Michael Irvin, followed by huge ovation from Arian Foster.

Bad Blaine Gabbert threw three touchdowns, including a pair to former Sealy All Stater and Aggie Ricky Seals-Jones. For the third consecutive game Jonathan Joseph got beat in man coverage

The punching bag of jokes, the offensive line had a solid day.  The Human Turnstile, left tackle Chris Clark, dominated Chandler Jones, and Xavier Su’a Filo opened holes on the left as the ground game picked up 130 yards.

Jadeveon Clowney continues to smear egg all over the idiots who called him a bust. The first pick in the draft four years ago as an outside backer, but he spends the majority of his time with his hand in the dirt as a pass rusher. Two sacks and three tackles for loss in yet another All Pro day at the office. Benardrick McKinney led the team with nine tackles, including two for loss.

The Texans regained the lead in the second half, winning the game with help from the Cardinals head coach.

Bruce Arians proved that Bill O’Brien is not the only NFL genius capable of having brain farts.  For some strange reason, he went for a first down on fourth-and-one at his own 34 while trailing by a mere three points with 6:36 remaining "It's very simple: I cost our team the game," Arians said. "Trust is a funny thing sometimes when you can't get it to it. You deserve to lose, especially when you make the decision I made and the play I called. So, there's your headline. You can write it. It comes down to that call. At that point in the game, in retrospect, we should have punted."

The Texans stopped Adrian Peterson for a one-yard loss, then went up by 10 when D'Onta Foreman scored on the next play. But the cursed Texans lost the rookie from Texas with a season ending Achilles injury.

Is NRG an Indian burial ground?  

Chirp!

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Houston's offense once again obliterated Baltimore in Wednesday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Owners of a nine-game winning streak, the Astros tried to keep the train rolling to make it double digits and complete the three-game sweep of the Orioles in Baltimore. Not only would they get the win, but they also did it by dominating on both sides of the ball again in a one-sided shutout.

Final Score: Astros 13, Orioles 0

Astros' Record: 46-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (6-3)

Losing Pitcher: Thomas Eshelman (0-1)

Houston keeps mashing

Unlike Tuesday's game which ended 3-1 in a much closer affair, the finale on Wednesday was once again a lopsided affair like Monda's opener, favoring the Astros. Houston once again put up double-digit runs in an offensive explosion. It started right off the bat, with three runs scoring in the top of the first on a two-RBI double by Carlos Correa and an RBI single by Kyle Tucker to grab a 3-0 lead.

Yuli Gurriel extended it to 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second, then Jose Altuve made it a six-run game with a two-run blast in the top of the fourth. Michael Brantley joined in with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, then Yordan Alvarez led off a four-run seventh with a solo bomb before a three-run homer by Abraham Toro made it 11-0.

Urquidy cruises through seven scoreless

Jose Urquidy was cruising all the while, allowing just three baserunners over that span, a double to start his night, which he erased, then a one-out walk in the second and leadoff single in the sixth. He returned at the bottom of the seventh with a manageable pitch count, where he'd erase a one-out single to keep Baltimore scoreless. With the insurmountable lead, he'd be given the rest of the night off. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 84 P.

Astros complete the sweep and grab tenth straight win

Chas McCormick, who came off the bench defensively in the bottom of the seventh, made it a twelve-run lead with a one-out solo homer in the top of the eighth, then later Abraham Toro notched his fourth RBI with a run-scoring single to make it 13-0. Brandon Bielak took over for Urquidy in the bottom of the eighth, and after loading the bases with no outs, was able to escape with a strikeout and double play.

Ralph Garza Jr. was Houston's third pitcher, wrapping things up at the bottom of the ninth. He erased a one-out walk and a single with a double play to end the game, giving Houston the three-game sweep and extending their winning streak to ten games as they continue to look like baseball's best team.

Up Next: The next stop on this road trip for Houston is Detroit, where they will kick off a four-game set with the Tigers on Thursday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup for the opener will be Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.82 ERA) for Houston and Jose Urena (2-7, 5.79 ERA) for Detroit.

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