Houston has hit a rough patch

Astros lose fourth straight as Orioles complete sweep in Houston

Houston's offense came up short yet again against the Orioles on Wednesday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

After dropping the first two games of this series, the Astros looked to salvage a game against the Orioles to avoid a series sweep against one of the MLB's worst teams in terms of record. They would fail that mission, losing their fourth in a row against beatable teams in a disappointing fashion.

Final Score: Orioles 5, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 48-33, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Tanner Scott (3-3)

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (6-5)

Disastrous first inning for Garcia

Thanks in part to a remarkably disparate strike zone by home plate umpire CB Bucknor, which would get pitching coach Brent Strom ejected, Luis Garcia had a very disappointing start to his night. After back-to-back walks to start the game, one of which easily could have been a strikeout, Baltimore would take advantage and put up four runs and make Garcia use 44 pitches on a two-RBI double, RBI single, and a sac fly.

Garcia would do well to rebound for three more innings, allowing just one more hit in his four frames of work. Houston was able to get on the board against Matt Harvey in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to RBI singles by Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker to cut the lead in half at 4-2. Brandon Bielak was first out of Houston's bullpen in the top of the fifth, and he erased a leadoff single to keep it a two-run game.

Houston drops fourth in a row

Cristian Javier came on in the top of the sixth, and he was able to work around a one-out single and walk to retire the side scoreless. He returned to get two more outs in the top of the seventh before issuing a walk that would prompt Dusty Baker to give Ryan Hartman, who moved onto the roster earlier in the day, his major league debut.

Hartman finished off the seventh but then allowed a solo homer to begin the top of the eighth to make it a three-run game before finishing the frame. With the score still 5-2 in the top of the ninth, Hartman returned for more work, erasing a two-out single to complete another inning. That score would go final as Houston would not rally, suffering their fourth-straight loss, including the three-game sweep by the Orioles.

Up Next: With this short three-game homestand over, the Astros will head back on the road for the rest of the week, picking up a four-game series with the Indians at 6:10 PM Central on Thursday. Framber Valdez (4-1, 2.11 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston in the opener, while J.C. Mejia (1-2, 4.94 ERA) is expected to start for Cleveland.

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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