Astros drop game to A's to snap winning streak

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: A's 2, Astros 1

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston put their ten-game winning streak on the line on Wednesday night, looking to extend it to eleven by beating Oakland. Here's a quick recap of the game:

Final Score: A's 2, Astros 1

Record: 12-6, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Frankie Montas (3-1).

Losing pitcher: Wade Miley (1-2).

Star of the game: The lone highlight of the night for the Astros belonged to Michael Brantley, who knocked in the lone run for Houston on a single in the sixth inning.

Notes: Unlike the night before where Oakland went much of the game scoreless, the A's struck first on Wednesday night, getting an RBI-double off of Wade Miley to take an early 1-0 lead. They would hold on to that lead well into the game, holding the Astros to just one hit over the first five innings, until the top of the sixth when Michael Brantley tied the game with an RBI single. The A's took the lead right back in the top of the next inning, though, with a solo home run. With Miley's night over after allowing two runs over six innings, Will Harris took over in the bottom of the seventh and kept Houston within a run with a 1-2-3 inning. Brad Peacock was next out of the pen for the bottom of the eighth and worked around a one-out walk to send things to the ninth. The Astros would come up empty despite getting a few runners on, though, snapping their winning streak and splitting the two-game series in Oakland.

Up Next: Houston will get the day off tomorrow before starting a three-game series with the Rangers in Arlington on Friday night. First pitch will be at 7:05 PM and will feature Justin Verlander (2-0, 3.52 ERA) for the Astros versus Drew Smyly (0-1, 7.15 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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