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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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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