PROTECTING THE FRANCHISE

Texans battling Bears for key free agent

Texans battling Bears for key free agent
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski / Stringer/Getty Images

After they allowed a league-high 65 sacks in 2018, the Houston Texans have been on a mission to upgrade their offensive line to protect their quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Starting with the acquisition of LT Laremy Tunsil and drafting Tytus Howard, the Texans' line took a step in the right direction as Houston gave up a total of 45 sacks during the 2019 season.

With 20 fewer sacks when compared to the previous season, there is still some work that needs to be done to ease Watson's chances from hitting the ground in 2020, and after missing out on their year-long pursuit Trent Williams, the Texans have shifted their focus to former New Orleans Saints guard, Larry Warford, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. If the Texans can find a way to land Warford, the addition of the Pro-Bowl guard has the potential to become Bill O'Brien's best acquisition of the summer. The Chicago bears are also interested in Warford's services according to a recent report.

In 2013, Warford began his career as a third-round pick for the Detroit Lions before signing a four-year, $34 million deal with the Saints in 2017. In New Orleans, the 6-foot-3, 317-pound prodigy out of Kentucky, started all 44 regular-season games at right guard and became a three-time Pro Bowler. Despite playing a big part in their success over the past three seasons, the Saints released the guard on Friday to free up $7 million in salary-cap space. He specializes in pass protection and has allowed only seven sacks during this three-year tenure in New Orleans, per PFF.


Should the Texans lure Warford down I-10 West to sign in Houston, the potential signing may mark the end of the current starter, Zach Fulton, who is set to become a free agent following the 2021 NFL season.

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Braves beat Houston in extra innings, 5-4. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Marcell Ozuna hit his major league-leading eighth homer and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

It completes a three-game sweep of the struggling Astros and is Atlanta’s fourth straight victory.

The Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning to tie it at 4-4. Michael Harris II started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and there was one out in the inning when Seth Martinez (1-1) intentionally walked Matt Olson.

Ozuna lined out to right field to send Harris to third base. Arcia then singled on a ground ball to left field to score Harris and put the Braves on top.

Pinch-runner Jake Meyers was on second when Kyle Tucker walked with no outs in the 10th. Meyers moved to third on a fly out by Yainer Diaz but Jeremy Peña grounded into a double play to end it.

A.J. Minter (3-1) got the last two outs of the ninth for the win and Raisel Iglesias earned his fifth save.

Reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. added his first homer of the season to help the Braves to the victory. Ozuna also leads the majors with 23 RBIs and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games, which ties his career best and is the longest active streak in the majors.

Yordan Alvarez and Mauricio Dubón both homered for the Astros, who fell to 6-14 and are last in the AL West.

There was one out in the first when Alvarez connected on his homer to the seats in left field to put Houston up 1-0.

Ozuna opened the second with his 432-foot shot to left field, which bounced off the wall and tied the game.

Acuña put the Braves up 2-1 when he sent the first pitch of the fifth inning to straightaway center field.

The Astros tied it on an RBI single by Alex Bregman in the fifth and Kyle Tucker’s RBI double came next to put the Astros up 3-2.

Dubón hit his first home run of the year off Jesse Chavez to start Houston’s sixth and push the lead to 4-2.

Harris singled to start the seventh before a ground-rule double by Austin Riley. Olson reached, and Harris scored on a fielding error by first baseman José Abreu when he couldn’t grab a routine ground ball.

There was one out in the inning when Riley scored on a sacrifice fly by Arcia to tie it at 4-all.

Houston starter J.P. France allowed four hits and two runs in five innings.

Max Fried gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a series against Texas on Friday night with LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 4.58 ERA) on the mound.

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night against Washington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

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