Texans win sixth straight, earn tough 19-17 win in Denver

Shareece Wright made some plays. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Texans didn’t let the altitude in Denver stop their win streak as they got their sixth in a row, 19-17. They caught a break when Broncos kicker Brian McManus missed the final 51-yard field goal as time expired, but defensively they earned it. This was a tough game because each team’s defense limited the running game, and that meant pass rush was a factor. After two weeks of relatively few hits taken, Deshaun Watson took a beating from the Broncos. He took four sacks and with all the pressure ran the ball six times for 38 yards, just two yards short of the team lead for the day.

Houston has been running the ball well recently with Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue, but they managed only 59 yards between the two of them. On 27 attempts, that’s a 2.2 yard per carry average. Watson averaged 6.3 yards per carry on his scrambles. His still managed a good game through the air where he completed 17 of 24 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

The Texans started the game fast, scoring the first touchdown on an opening drive in Houston’s last 13 games for a 7-0 lead. After rookie safety Justin Reid recovered the day’s only turnover, a fumble by Devontae Booker; Watson found his favorite target DeAndre Hopkins for a 16-yard touchdown. A missed extra point and Houston was leading 13-3 in the second quarter. Ka’imi Fairbairn made both of his field goals on the day and those points were the difference in the game.

The Texans defense had an up and down day. They limited the Broncos to only 75 yards on the ground, but a 14-yard rushing touchdown by Booker tightened the score in the second quarter, 13-10. Denver would take the lead 17-16 after halftime on a tight window throw by Case Keenum to tight end Jeff Heuerman, who seemed to be a thorn in Houston’s side all day. His 10 receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown were big for the Broncos offense, including one to help move the ball closer on the final drive. Houston would take back the lead and hold off the Broncos but there was more than one drive that looked like it could allow the Broncos to regain the lead.

The Texans defense held up on the strength of their front seven. Second half sacks by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney helped end consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, but they weren’t the only ones in Keenum’s face and he was forced to throw the ball away multiple times. The secondary also had another solid day, including Shareece Wright who was starting for the injured Jonathan Joseph. He made a great play on a pass in the end zone to knock it from the hands of Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton to save a touchdown. Ultimately, Denver was able to throw the ball well at the end of the game and had a chance to win it with a field goal.

Another solid win for Houston who was only 30% converting third downs and had seven penalties for 60 yards. DeAndre Hopkins continues to be the most dangerous player on the field, bringing in 10 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. And Bill O’Brien did a great job early on taking advantage of the newly acquired Demaryius Thomas who had three catches for 61 yards in the game. He caught two of them for 49 yards on the opening drive that ended in a touchdown to Jordan Thomas who now has three in the last two games as a rookie. It will be good to see this continue next week as Houston travels to Washington D.C. to face the Redskins.


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Houston stays hot at the plate

Astros overpower White Sox in series opener

Abraham Toro made a loud return to the Astros' lineup on Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a two-game sweep of the struggling Rangers behind them, the Astros welcomed in a much fiercer opponent in the Chicago White Sox, owners of the best record in the AL, for an exciting four-game set. It was all Astros in this one, as their offense would once again propel them to a lopsided win.

Final Score: Astros 10, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 40-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dylan Cease (5-3)

Houston builds a big lead

Houston wasted no time in the bottom of the first, getting two on base on a single and an error to set up a three-run home run for Michael Brantley, putting them ahead 3-0 before Chicago and Dylan Cease could record an out. They extended the lead in the bottom of the fourth, putting two on base on a walk and hit batter before an RBI ground-rule double by Carlos Correa brought in one. That left runners on second and third, and Abraham Toro took advantage by scoring both on a two-RBI single, then with one out, Jose Altuve hit a sac fly to make it a 7-0 lead.

Urquidy brings the good stuff

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was cruising through Chicago's lineup. He allowed just one hit through the first five scoreless innings but would let the White sox get on the board in the top of the sixth after a leadoff double and two-out RBI single. They added one more on another single, making it 7-2 before Urquidy could get out of the inning.

Jose Altuve got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, hitting his fourth home run in three games to make it a six-run game at 8-2. Urquidy returned to the mound in the top of the seventh, getting a quick 1-2-3 frame to end his successful night. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 93 P.

Astros take the opener

In the bottom of the seventh, Houston pushed the lead to eight runs with a leadoff single, setting up a two-out two-run homer by Toro, bringing him to four RBI on the night. With Urquidy's night over, Brandon Bielak came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen, sitting down Chicago in order. Ralph Garza Jr. came in to get an inning of work to finish off the game with Houston's large lead. He made it a quick one, with Chicago going down in order one more time as the Astros took the opener and notched their fourth-straight win.

Up Next: Game two of this entertaining series will be another 7:10 PM Central Start on Friday. Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.89 ERA) will try to help Chicago even the series, while Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.98 ERA) will try to put Houston up 2-0.

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