Astros extend winning streak to ten games

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: Astros 9, A's 1

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Riding three straight series sweeps, and after a day off on Monday, the Astros were back in action against the A's in Oakland on Tuesday night looking to make it ten straight wins. Here's a rundown of the game:

Final Score: Astros 9, A's 1

Record: 12-5, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Collin McHugh (3-1).

Losing pitcher: Marco Estrada (0-2).

Star of the game: Alex Bregman had the highlight of the game, a huge grand slam which put Houston up 8-0 in the fourth inning. They ended up being unnecessary insurance runs, but it kept the offense of the Astros firing and keeps their momentum high going into tomorrow night.

Notes: George Springer got the game started in the best way for the Astros, launching a leadoff dinger to put Houston up 1-0. Josh Reddick extended the lead in the top of the second, hitting a two-run home run to make it a 3-0 game. The Astros kept scoring, loading the bases with one out in the top of the fourth before Springer worked an RBI-walk then Alex Bregman busted things open with a two-out grand slam to double the lead to 8-0. Meanwhile, Collin McHugh had a great start, keeping Oakland off the board with just two hits and two walks along with five strikeouts over his six innings of work. The runs kept coming for Houston, getting an RBI from Robinson Chirinos to extend the lead further to 9-0. Josh James took over on the mound for the Astros in the seventh and threw two scoreless innings, keeping the shutout going into the ninth. Reymin Guduan made his first appearance since swapping roster spots with Framber Valdez, but it was a rough one, loading the bases and allowing a sac fly to end the shutout, ending his appearance early. Chris Devenski entered to clean things up and get the last two outs to wrap up the win.

Up Next: Houston and Oakland will wrap up the short two-game series tomorrow night with first pitch at 9:07 PM. The Astros will have Wade Miley on the mound looking to make it eleven wins in a row for Houston and improve his 1-1 record and 3.45 ERA, while the A's will look to Frankie Montas who sits at 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E

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Texans vs. Vikings could have fans in attendance. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Houston Texans say it's time that fans were allowed to cheer on the home team at NRG Stadium. On Thursday, the team announced extensive safety protocols that would put 15,000 fans in the stands for the Week 4 game against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 4.

While the Texans are awaiting permission from city and county officials to host a limited number of fans - socially distant and wearing masks – no plans have been announced how much tickets will cost, and who'll have the opportunity to buy them.

You have to love the free enterprise system: hundreds of tickets for the Oct. 4 game already are on sale on secondary market websites. Lower bowl tickets are going for $800 and up. If you don't mind sitting in the nose bleeds, tickets can be had for around $250.

So the question becomes, if you had the chance, would you attend the Texans game in early October? The tickets are big bucks, and there is a whammy – COVID-19. While the rate of COVID-19 infections is on the decline in Houston, the virus remains a major factor in our daily lives, and there's no guarantee that the pandemic won't spike here again.

Here's the rub, at least for me. Of all the sports we have in Houston, a Texans game might be lowest on my wish list of attending in person. Television does NFL games the best. There are dozens of cameras, so when a receiver catches a pass on the sidelines, we get several views, in slow motion even, to see if the receiver's feet were in bounds. We can almost feel the crunch of a quarterback sack. We get highlights of other games. You don't have to sit next to a face painter like David Puddy.

The NFL is a made-for-TV production. Which is, I suspect, part of the reason the Texans rarely open the roof at NRG Stadium. With the roof closed, the field becomes a controlled TV studio, with no worries of weather pranks.

Television doesn't do basketball or baseball nearly as well. Conversely, the experience of attending those games is terrific fun. What beats eating a couple of dogs at an Astros game? Is there even a traditional food at NFL or NBA games?

The Texans promise that strict safety rules will be enforced. And I believe them. Fans will be scattered over the 67,000-seat stadium. I'm not sure how much of a home field advantage that will be. Most of the crowd noise will come from pre-recorded tapes.

Here's one worry. Sure fans will sit apart and socially distanced. But what will happen when the game is over? Will fans file out in orderly, non-contagious single file? I flew Southwest a few weeks ago. The airline makes a big deal – we don't sell the middle seat. Passengers kept their distance during the flight. When the landed, you know how it is, everybody got up and piled into the aisle, shoulder to shoulder for several minutes.

What will happen if some goofball takes off his/her mask during the Texans game? Will there be enough security to handle each case?

Baseball is planning to have some fans attend post-season games at Minute Maid Park next month. UH Cougars, the Dynamo and Dash are playing in front of small crowds. It remains to be seen how safe – or how risky – allowing fans at sports events will be.

Will parents let their kids attend? Is waiting for a vaccine the smart play? If President Trump is right, that could be only a matter of weeks away. If scientists and doctors are right, nestle in for pandemic life another year. Even if scientists do come up with a vaccine, how many Americans will roll up their sleeve? Some believe, in the case of COVID-19, the cure may be worse than the disease. Not me, the moment Dr. Fauci says the vaccine is safe and effective, I'm sprinting to CVS.

The thinnest of silver linings, if ever there was a year worth sitting out, 2020 has been it for Houston sports fans. The Astros are scratching to stay above .500 (their present position), Jose Altuve hasn't had an extra base hit or RBI in almost a month, and Justin Verlander is throwing bullpens on his way to recovery. The Rockets are searching for a new coach, and possibly another team willing to take Russell Westbrook in a trade. The Texans season could go either way, we'll know if a few short weeks.

Why the rush to fill stadiums? The NBA is thriving in a bubble. Why not baseball and football? There's a fine line between safe and sorry.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo already has safety plans for next year, including masks and distancing. That will be interesting. Good luck controlling crowds pushing and shoving for corn dogs and funnel cakes.

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