Astros crush Mariners with barrage of homers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 10-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After wrapping up another series win in Cleveland on Thursday night, the Astros were back at home to start a fresh three-game set with the Mariners. Here is a recap of game one against Seattle:

Final Score: Astros 10, Mariners 2.

Record: 71-40, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wade Miley (10-4, 3.05 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (4-8, 5.49 ERA).

1) Houston puts on a home run parade

Yordan Alvarez was the first to put Houston on the board, crushing a ball to straightaway center to lead off the bottom of the second inning. The 427-foot bomb made it a 1-0 game, but later in the inning, Jake Marisnick extended the lead to 3-0 with a two-run home run of his own.

The home runs didn't stop there; Martin Maldonado made his return to Minute Maid Park memorable with a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 4-0. Then, after a two-out triple by George Springer later in the inning, Jose Altuve capitalized with a two-run shot to the Crawford Boxes to make it a 6-0 Houston advantage.

Even after Seattle went to their bullpen in the bottom of the fifth inning, they couldn't avoid Houston's momentum. After Alvarez worked a one-out walk in the inning, Carlos Correa joined in on the home run parade with a two-run blast before Aledmys Diaz made it back-to-back jacks, extending the lead further to 9-0. That made it a season-high six home runs in the game for Houston.

2) Miley gets win number 10 

Meanwhile, Wade Miley was quietly stringing together another solid start on the mound. He allowed a few walks in the early innings but did not allow a hit until the top of the fifth. He would keep the Mariners scoreless until the sixth when he would give up a one-out two-run home run to trim the lead to 9-2.

He went on to finish that inning, but after giving up five walks on the night saw his pitch count prevent him from going further in the game. Still, with the run support, he was able to get his tenth win of the season. Miley's final pitching line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.

3) Bullpen sends things home

Collin McHugh was the first reliever to come out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Miley to pitch the seventh. He worked around back-to-back two-out walks to get through the scoreless inning.

He stayed on the mound for the eighth, another scoreless inning during which allowed just a walk. In the bottom of the inning, the Astros tacked on one more insurance run with an RBI-groundout from Jose Altuve to make it 10-2.

Jose Smith came in with the eight-run lead to close things out in the ninth, and did so, giving Houston a win in the series opener.

Up Next: Game two of this series will start tomorrow at 6:10 PM. The Astros will send newly acquired Aaron Sanchez (3-14, 6.07 ERA) to the mound to try and turn the page on his rough season so far and start fresh with his new team. He will be going up against Marco Gonzalez (12-8, 4.21 ERA) for Seattle. Houston can secure another series win with a victory.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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College football needs to call a timeout on the 2020 season.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to announce, maybe today, perhaps in a few weeks, whether they will play football this fall.

Already the Ivy League, Mountain West and Mid-American Conference have canceled their fall football season for health and safety reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Power 5 conferences – the Big Ten, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference – should get onboard and put their football seasons on hold, too.

While some elected officials without medical degrees say that coronavirus amounts to little more than sniffles for young people, healthcare experts argue that college-age people, while they do recover quickly and may not exhibit symptoms, do contract and spread the virus.

There has been a 90 percent increase of young people testing positive for the virus in the past four weeks. More important, health experts say they can't measure the long-term effects of the virus, which may include brain damage, heart disease and reduced lung capacity.

There is a simple solution to play or not play college football this fall – postpone the season to next spring, when health experts will know more about the disease. There possibly could be a vaccine by then, which would allow fans back in stadiums.

Many high-profile college players and coaches weighed in on the debate Monday, almost unanimously saying that the 2020 football schedule should be played on schedule, starting in a few weeks.

Players, including Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, adopted the hashtag #WeWantToPlay. In a tweet, Lawrence said that players would be more at risk for coronavirus if the fall season doesn't move forward. "We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football."

Lawrence added that, if the football season is canceled or postponed, players "will be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely."

Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN, "Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home."

Two points: University presidents should listen to only one group of people – healthcare professionals – when they decide whether to cancel or postpone the fall football season. Yes, players want to play during this pandemic. But players also want to play when they are injured or their brain was just scrambled by a vicious tackle. We applaud athletes who play with a broken leg. We see players with concussions plead with their coaches to put them back in the game.

As for the argument that players are more likely to catch the virus if they're sent home – who's sending them home? These are student-athletes. Students. Most college campuses will be open with students attending classes this fall. Major college programs like Clemson have 85 full scholarships designated for football. Colleges won't take away players' scholarships if the football season is canceled. Clemson's campus will open Sept. 21 for in-person classes.

ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy also said the season should be played as scheduled: "If they're (players) OK, then I'm OK." Texas governor Greg Abbott chimed in on the players' side. He said, "It's their careers, it's their health."

What "careers" is he talking about? There are about 775 colleges that play football. Only 1.7 percent of all those players will play in the NFL or another professional league. On Sept. 3, Rice University will play Army. It is unlikely that any of those players will have a career in football. However, given the excellence of academics at those colleges, players will have career opportunities in something other than football. The average NFL career is 2-1/2 years. Rice and Army grads can top that.

The NBA is completing its season in a bubble in Orlando, with players confined to their hotels between games. Only 22 teams are in Orlando for the lockdown. The Rockets organization sent about 35 people, including coaches, players and essential personnel to Orlando.

Baseball is playing its season outside a bubble. So many players are testing positive for coronavirus that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred last week threatened to end the season if teams don't do a better job of enforcing the league's health protocol. What's left is an unbalanced season. For example, the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners have played 18 games, while the St. Louis Cardinals have played only five games. The ironically first-place Miami Marlins, which had 18 players test positive, have played only 10 games.

College football can't be played in a bubble. There are too many teams, with some having more than 100 players and 20 coaches. And no sport thrives on fans' excitement and marching bands like college football. Several colleges, including the University of Texas and Texas A&M, have stadiums that hold more than 100,000 fans. Even if college football could be played in a bubble, it would require isolating players from August to January, when they're supposed to be in class. I know … supposed.

This one is easy. For the health and safety of players, play the fall 2020 season in spring 2021.

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