Tough way to lose

Watson stars, but Brady dooms Texans in 36-33 loss

Brandin Cooks makes the game-winning catch with 23 seconds left. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Texans almost did something they had never done before -- beat the Patriots in Foxboro. But in the end, they came up short again. 

They gave Tom Brady a chance late, and he took advantage. Brady threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game with 23 seconds left and the Patriots rallied to beat the Texans 36-33 in a heartbreaker for Houston.

Brady was phenomenal, completing 25 of 35 for 378 yards, the five TDs, one turnover on a fumble and his 50th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime. The Patriots went 75 yards on eight plays on the winning drive and Brandin Cooks made a brilliant catch on the game-winner.

Offensively, the Texans did everything they needed to do to win the game. Deshaun Watson was outstanding in his second career start. He was 22 of 32 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 41 yards on eight carries and constantly eluded pressure. In fact,  the Texans played as well on offense as they have during the Bill O’Brien era. Watson was sharp, elusive and made plays. O’Brien’s playcalling was outstanding and tailored to Watson’s game.

But when it mattered, it was too much Brady. He did what he has done throughout his career. The Texans defense simply could not make enough plays when it mattered. 

Even losing the game, the future might be bright for the 1-2 Texans. They appear to finally have an answer at quarterback. He made one bad pass (the second pick was on a last second Hail Mary) but played well throughout and gave the Texans a chance to win.

The Texans had more yards (417-396), led in time of possession by five minutes, sacked Brady five times and led in the fourth quarter against the Super Bowl champs. They came within inches of winning the game on a late Corey Moore interception, but he could not hold the ball, and Brady made no mistakes after that.

The Texans held their own in the first half and trailed only 21-20. Watson was 12 of 16 for 123 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 27 yards on six carries, but for the most part the Patriots did a solid job of keeping him contained from breaking a big run.

The interception was bad, and looked like a miscommunication with Hopkins, who had four catches for 38 yards in the half and finished the game with seven for 78.

The defense had some breakdowns, leading to three Brady touchdown passes, but also pressured Brady and scored on a sack/fumble.

It set them up for a terrific second half, and a game the Texans had every chance to win.

But in the end, it was too much Brady. Again. And the Texans came up short in Foxboro.

Again.

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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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