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Texans tab familiar face Gaine as new GM, working on O'Brien extension

Brian Gaine will return to the Texans. Buffalobills.com

The Texans have reportedly settled on Brian Gaine as their new general manager, replacing Rick Smith. Gaine was hired away from the Texans last year, joining the Buffalo Bills as Vice President of Player personnel. Prior to that, Gaine spent three years with the Texans as director of player personnel. 

Gaine also served as assistant general manager with the Miami Dolphins. He reportedly has a good working relationship with head coach Bill O'Brien. Gaine replaces Smith, who took a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife. Smith will likely return at some point, but in another role if Gaine is successful. 

Gaine is a respected personnel man who has interviewed for several GM jobs in recent years. O'Brien, who is apparently close to a contract extension, will likely have more say on player acquisition as part of his deal. He has not earned it, but the reportedly "toxic" relationship with Smith will no longer be an excuse. 

Gaine inherits a roster that when healthy should be competitive. The return of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus should boost the defense, and Deshaun Watson appears to be a franchise quarterback in the making. However, he will need to rebuild a terrible offensive line and boost a shaky secondary, all without a first or second round pick. However, the team has significant cap room to make a splash in free agency. 

Meanwhile, the team is working on extension for O'Brien. He has several staff positions to fill, and really needs to consider a new defensive coordinator. 

But he at least has a new GM to work with. One he already knew.

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Houston's winning streak is up to nine

Astros secure series over Orioles as winning streak continues

Zack Greinke provided another long outing for his team on Tuesday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After continuing their recent dominance with a lopsided win over this Orioles team on Monday in the rain-plagued opener, the Astros eyed number nine in a row if they could do it again on Tuesday. Though not as one-sided, the Astros would get the victory to secure the series win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Orioles 1

Astros' Record: 45-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (8-2)

Losing Pitcher: Jorge Lopez (2-9)

A tame start for Houston's offense

After a scoreless first inning on both sides, Myles Straw started the scoring with two outs in the top of the second, sneaking a ball off and over the left-field wall just out of the grasp of Austin Hays for a solo homer to put Houston ahead 1-0. After Baltimore tied the game in the third, the game remained gridlocked 1-1 until the top of the seventh, when Chase McCormick would reach on a one-out infield single then raced around to score on a Myles Straw RBI single, putting Houston back in front 2-1.

Greinke pitches into the eighth

Over that span, Zack Greinke was getting efficient innings against Baltimore's lineup. He allowed that trying run in the third, which came after a one-out walk moved to third on a single, then scored on a sac fly. That was one of his few moments with runners in scoring position, as he erased a single in the first, a single in the fourth, and a double in the seventh to maintain the new 2-1 lead.

The Astros loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the eighth but came away with only one run of insurance on a McCormick sac fly, making it 3-1 as Greinke returned to the mound to continue working. He allowed a leadoff single then retired the next batter before Dusty Baker would come out to get him as the left-handed portion of the lineup was due up and a better match for Brooks Raley, who had been warming. Greinke's final line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 91 P.

Astros make it nine in a row

Raley completed the eighth for Greinke with two strikeouts to strand the inherited runner. With it still a two-run game in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save. He erased a two-out single to finish things off, giving Houston their ninth win in a row and securing the series with a chance at the sweep in the finale.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set will be another 6:05 PM Central start time on Wednesday. Thomas Eshelman (0-0, 1.93 ERA) will be on the mound for Baltimore to face the Astros, while Jose Urquidy (5-3, 3.65 ERA) will start for Houston.

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