Houston is now 22-23 on the year

Astros drop finale to A's and once again have a losing record

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With Oakland securing the series by winning three of the first four games of this five-game set, the Astros took the field Thursday afternoon in an attempt to salvage a game to grab a game back in the division standings. Here is a quick recap of the finale with the A's:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 1.

Record: 22-23, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Sean Manaea (4-2, 4.46 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1, 3.72 ERA).

One pitch changes Urquidy's day

The early innings of Thursday's game flew by, with the Astros swinging early and often against Sean Manaea, while Jose Urquidy was blanking the A's on the other side. After three perfect frames, Urquidy did not allow a baserunner until the fourth, but he would work around two walks that inning to keep Oakland off the board.

He allowed his first hit to lead off the bottom of the fifth, a double that he worked around by retiring the next three batters to send the scoreless game to the sixth. He returned for the sixth to try and get through another inning, getting two quick outs before a two-out walk. That would prove costly as Matt Olson would launch a two-run go-ahead home run in the next at-bat to give Oakland a 2-1 lead. He would get the final out of that inning, bringing an end to his day. His final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Manaea limits Houston's bats

Meanwhile, Sean Manaea was handling the Astros relatively easily. After retiring the first fifteen Astros in order, Josh Reddick would finally give Houston their first baserunner in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double. He moved to third on a single, then scored on a double play, but that one run would be all the Astros could get against him as he would finish seven innings on just 61 pitches, allowing just the one run.

After Urquidy, Andre Scrubb came in to try and keep it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the seventh, but again a walk would cost Houston. Scrubb walked the leadoff batter, who stole second, then scored on an RBI-single to make it 3-1 Oakland. Scrubb would issue a two-out walk, prompting another move to the bullpen, this time for Brad Peacock. Peacock would walk his first batter, loading the bases, but would get the third out of the inning.

Astros drop below .500 again

Brandon Bielak would make an appearance in relief for the bottom of the eighth. He was able to work around a one-out single and two-out double to keep it a two-run game heading to the ninth. The 3-1 score would go final as Oakland's bullpen would keep the Astros off the board. The loss put an end to the five-game series where the Astros went 1-4 against the division-leading A's and pushed Houston back below .500 at 22-23. They have won just one time in their last nine games.

Up Next: The Astros will have one of their last two scheduled days off on Friday before starting a two-game series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Saturday. The first game will get underway at 7:07 PM Central on Saturday and features Framber Valdez (3-3, 3.61 ERA) pitching for the Astros against Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 0.76 ERA) for the Dodgers.

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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