CODY STOOTS PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Texans safeties Mathieu, Jackson come to play in loss to Patriots

Tyrann Mathieu (left) and Kareem Jackson played well. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson had quite the debut at safety for the Texans despite the team failing to capture a win on the road in New England. The Texans lost 27-20 but the new safety duo impressed. 

Mathieu pulled down the first of what Texans fans hope is many interceptions with a few minutes left on the clock in the first quarter. Defensive lineman Angelo Blackson deflected a Tom Brady pass intended for James White allowing the trailing Mathieu to come up with the ball. The interception led to a Texans field goal. 

Jackson was thumping players early and often. As the clock ticked down in the first half Jackson darted in on Rex Burkhead and forced the ball to shoot out but the Patriots recovered. 

Later Mathieu found the ball in his hands again thanks to Jackson. As Rob Gronkowski galloped down the field Jackson came in and punched the ball out. Mathieu who was giving chase scooped the ball. The ensuing Texans drive came up empty but the fumble recovery was a huge play slowing a Patriots offense which was humming down the field. 

Despite being new to the defense Mathieu also displayed some knowledge about the scheme. Kevin Johnson failed to listen to Mathieu in a coverage communication where moments later Johnson gave up a touchdown. Mathieu was seen very animated seated next to Johnson on the bench 

Jackson finished the day as the team's leading tackler with eight tackles. Mathieu added five from his spot. 

It was an impressive day from the safeties for the Texans especially considering the Texans struggles at cornerback in the first half from Johnathan Joseph and the second half from Kevin Johnson. There is something there for Romeo Crennel to work with. If the defense can come together in front of them the safety play can get even better.

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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