Out-played

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets get smacked by the Clippers in Houston 125-105

Depending on who you ask, this game could be used as confirmation for a lot of what we already believed about these two teams. The Clippers are mammoths defensively and have the personal to counter Houston's micro-ball lineups better than any other team in the NBA. It starts on the glass, where the Rockets were outrebounded 57 to 51 and more importantly allowed 15 Clippers' offensive rebounds.

On probably Houston's most important remaining game of the season, Los Angeles just played significantly harder than the Rockets, from the opening tip. There's really no excusing Houston's effort given the magnitude of this game and this importance on the final standings (the Clippers now hold a three game lead in the standings with a tied season series record). The Rockets have stated that the second seed is the final remaining goal of the season and they may have tossed out all hope of that tonight.

A lot of the focus will be on Houston's shooting struggles and to be fair, it was definitely a factor tonight (13 of 40 from three-point range). However, the Clippers were just a brute force defensively, seemingly forcing 24-second violation after 24-second violation and the Rockets could not get out in transition due to their inability to get stops defensively. The poor shooting was pretty unprecedented, but this loss hangs squarely on their shoulders.

"Great learning experience for us on both ends of the ball," said James Harden after the game. "We got 21 games left to prepare ourselves for the bigger picture. So we watch film tomorrow, get better, and be ready to go next game."

Star of the game: The thing about floor spacing is it doesn't disappear when your shooters miss shots for a game. Defenders still slide over and leave the paint relatively unattended to. This was evident in Russell Westbrook's performance tonight as he logged 29 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal. It felt like Westbrook consistently played with the most effort on the Rockets from buzzer to buzzer and tried his hardest to bring the Rockets within striking distance.

Honorable mention: I guess this goes to James Harden by default, but it wasn't pretty. Virtually everyone outside of Russell Westbrook was inefficient an and bad defensively. Harden got the rim a lot in the first quarter and for a while, was the only one scoring on the Rockets. This trend obviously didn't keep up as Harden logged 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal tonight on an abysmal 36.7% true shooting.

Key moment: There were no key moments tonight. The Clippers dominated Houston from the opening tip and aside from a few poster dunks, this was an uneventful game.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Charlotte at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday to take on the Hornets.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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