Houston takes both games over the Rangers

Astros homer their way to mini-sweep over Rangers

Chas McCormick had a big night with two homers against the Rangers. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

After winning dramatically in the opener of this short two-game series with the Rangers, the Astros tried to complete the sweep on Wednesday night. They didn't wait until the last minute in this one, blasting multiple home runs, including two by Chas McCormick, en route to the win.

Final Score: Astros 8, Rangers 4

Astros' Record: 39-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (7-2)

Losing Pitcher: Jordan Lyles (2-5)

Homers galore

Jose Altuve, who hit a walk-off grand slam the night prior, started off Houston's offensive night right where he left off with a solo homer in the bottom of the first to put Houston up 1-0. The ball kept flying out for the Astros in the next inning, with Chas McCormick hitting a two-run blast and Martin Maldonado a solo shot, making it a 4-0 game through two. Texas would get on the board against Zack Greinke in the top of the third on a solo home run, but Myles Straw got that run right back to push the lead back to four by depositing one into the Crawford Boxes, making it 5-1.

Greinke cruises until the sixth

Through the first five innings, that solo homer allowed by Greinke was his only major blemish. He kept going in the top of the sixth, but the Rangers loaded the bases against him on two singles and a walk with one out. He would get a big strikeout of Joey Gallo for the second out, but Dusty Baker would make the call to bring in Brooks Raley to try and get out of the jam. Raley would instead allow two more runs to Greinke's stats, giving up a two-RBI single before getting the last out. Greinke's final line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros get the mini-sweep

Houston wasted no time to grab the momentum back, thanks to McCormick's second homer of the night, a solo homer to start the bottom of the sixth to make it a three-run game. Eli White matched that with his second home run of the game for the Rangers, another solo homer to cut the lead back to two at 6-4 against Cristian Javier in the top of the seventh. Houston got their first run on a non-homer in the bottom of the seventh, putting two on base to set up an RBI double by Carlos Correa.

Javier continued on the mound in the top of the eighth, erasing a leadoff walk for a scoreless inning. Jose Altuve hit his third home run of this series and second of the game, with a two-out solo homer to make it 8-4, heading to the ninth. The Astros turned to Ryne Stanek with the four-run lead to finish things off, which he would do to wrap up the two-game sweep for Houston.

Up Next: With this quick two-game set complete with the Rangers, the Astros will welcome in a much fiercer opponent for four games as the 43-25 Chicago White Sox come to town. In the opener, Jose Urquidy (4-3, 3.77 ERA) for the Astros will go up against Dylan Cease (5-2, 3.38 ERA).

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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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