Astros drop third straight game

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 7-6 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With a surprising and disappointing series loss to the White Sox to start the week, Houston traveled to Oakland for a four-game weekend series against the A's to try and get back on track. Here is a recap from the series opener from Thursday night:

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 6.

Record: 78-44, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jake Diekman (1-6, 4.86 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chris Devenski (2-2, 4.42 ERA).

1) Pitcher's duel through the first three innings

The series opener got underway at a breakneck pace, with both former-Astro Mike Fiers and newly acquired Aaron Sanchez stacking three efficient innings. The two combined to get through the first three frames very quickly, taking just a total of 58 pitches to do so. The only hit over that span was a two-out single by Oakland allowed by Sanchez. However, the hits started coming in waves in the middle innings.

2) Alex Bregman starts the scoring

The top of the fourth looked to be another quick 1-2-3 inning where Mike Fiers would stay in control against the Astros. Instead, a two-out single by Michael Brantley brought Alex Bregman to the plate, and he connected on a line drive home run to start the scoring for the night and put Houston ahead 2-0.

That didn't just open up the hitting for Houston, as Oakland would respond immediately with a big inning of their own against Sanchez in the bottom of the fourth. He struggled in the inning, putting the first two runners on base to set up a go-ahead three-run home run to start the inning along with a solo home run later in the inning to extend Oakland's lead to 4-2.

Houston would work their way back to a tie with solo home runs by Carlos Correa in the fifth and Michael Brantley in the sixth, but Oakland quickly broke that tie in the bottom of the sixth. The A's launched their third and fourth home runs of the game against Sanchez with no outs in the inning, giving them a 6-4 lead.

Sanchez would get one more out before allowing two more baserunners prompting a call to the bullpen to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 4 HR.

3) Houston comes up just short

Hector Rondon took over for Aaron Sanchez in the bottom of the sixth and was able to erase two inherited runners to send the game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa trimmed Oakland's lead to one run by leading the inning off with his second home run of the night. Rondon returned for the bottom of the inning and kept the A's off the board, keeping the game at one run.

Michael Brantley would join Carlos Correa as Houston players with multi-home run games after a solo home run with one out in the top of the eighth tied the game 6-6. The balls kept flying out of the park, with Matt Chapman also having a multi-homer game for Oakland after a go-ahead solo shot off Chris Devenski in the bottom of the eighth.

Devenski would finish the bottom of the eighth, but Houston would come away empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the opener of the four-game series. The loss made it three straight for the Astros.

Up Next: Game two of this series will be Friday night with another west-coast starting time of 9:07 PM Central. Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.82 ERA) will get the ball for Houston and attempt to bounce back from a rough outing in his last start. Oakland is expected to start Tanner Roark (7-8, 4.06 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros had a bad 4-6 road trip and looked forward to getting home to Minute Maid Park where they have been dominant this season. The pitiful Detroit Tigers arrived in Houston with a record since the All Star Break of nine wins and 27 losses. They literally do not have one non-pitcher who would make a healthy Astros' roster. That includes the way over the hill sure fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Splitting four games at home with the Tigers would have been a fail. The Astros did not fail, though "only" taking three out of four seems a little disappointing. The S.S. Astros Good Ship Lollipop has sprung a couple of leaks. Neither that can't be plugged with good health, but the Astros have two notable health issues.

Carlos Correa's next endorsement deal should be for peanut brittle, emphasis not on the peanut. Some guys just have a propensity toward getting injured. Unfortunately the Correa resume grows that he is one of those guys. That back problems have resurfaced is troubling, to no one more so than Correa himself. It's clear the guy loves the game and is spectacularly talented, but durability is one component of greatness and to this point Correa simply has not demonstrated durability. If he can't produce a fully healthy bigtime season or two in the next year or two, any visions of a Manny Machado-like 10 year 300 million dollar contract will be up in smoke. Still, Correa turns only 25 years old next month so there's time to prove sturdiness, but more sand has seeped through the hourglass. For the 2019 Astros the dropdown is huge from Correa at shortstop to either Miles Straw or Aledmys Diaz being in the lineup. As for 2020, please tell anyone saying the Astros should trade Correa to be quiet.

The loss of Ryan Pressly for most if not all of the rest of the regular season is a big blow to the bullpen. Of even bigger concern is whether he can get back and get sharp to start the postseason.

This doesn't mean the ship is sinking. The Astros enter the weekend just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and the Astros own the tiebreaker (having won the season series 4-3). They are three back of the Dodgers for best in MLB, the Astros have a three game lead in the tiebreaker with LA (intradivision record). The Yankees play at the Dodgers this weekend so if you're a glass half full person: a Dodger or Yankee loss is guaranteed three days in a row! If you're glass half empty: a Dodger or Yankee win is guaranteed three days in a row!

NFL on the horizon

A little over 2 weeks until the Texans begin their 18th season of play in the National Football League. We've all heard the saying, the 18th time is the charm. So is this the season the Texans are finally a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Probably not. The Texans do not look like a notably improved football team. On paper their schedule is clearly more difficult than last season's. Within the AFC the Chiefs clearly have more overall talent and are better coached. The Patriots still exist. One of these years Tom Brady really will slip. Maybe at age 42 this is the season.

If Jadeveon Clowney opts to sit out, or is traded, anyone thinking he won't be missed, is wrong. Clowney is not a superstar but he's really good. The Texans will be easier to run on without him. And while not an elite pass rusher, Clowney has to be accounted for. Anyone thinking, ah, he's hurt all the time anyway…wrong again. Clowney missed one game last season, and the season before that he played in every game.

If you want a couple of reasons for plausible optimism, here you go. Coming off of last season Deshaun Watson does not rate as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He could well vault into that echelon this season. The Texans' offensive line remains something between a question mark and a glaring weakness, but really, can it be worse than it was the last couple of seasons? DeAndre Hopkins is about as good as it gets today at wide receiver, the same for J.J. Watt at defensive end though the clock is ticking down on his prime.

The Texans probably begin their season by losing at New Orleans. On the other hand the Buccaneers started their 5-11 2018 season by beating the 13-3 to be Saints in New Orleans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Connor McGregor pitches some "number 12" brand of whisky. As a human being he seems much more a piece of number two. 2. Two peas in a pitching pod: Justin Verlander 15-5, 2.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole 15-5, 2.75 ERA, 238 strikeouts. 3. Worst tasting vegetables: Bronze-kale Silver-peas Gold-lima beans


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