Houston can't complete the sweep

Astros' winning streak ends with loss to A's in series finale

Houston's offense was quiet on Thursday against the A's. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

With wins in their last six games, including the first two in this three-game set to secure the series victory, the Astros entered Thursday afternoon's finale looking for a sweep to continue their winning streak. Instead, a cold day at the plate would allow Oakland to salvage a game after two early runs.

Final Score: A's 2, Astros 1

Astros' Record: 54-34, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (8-7)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (6-2)

Rough first inning for McCullers Jr.

Just like in the other two games in this series, Oakland was the one to jump out to the first lead of the day. It came on three straight hits with one out in the top of the first: a double, an RBI ground-rule double, and an RBI single to put the A's up 2-0 before Houston could come up to bat. McCullers Jr. did well after that, limiting his opponent to those two runs, tossing six more scoreless frames to finish with a quality start. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 107 P.

Astros' winning streak ends

Meanwhile, the Astros were struggling against Frankie Montas. They were held without a run through the first six innings, then got on the board in the bottom of the seventh after a two-out double by Kyle Tucker set up an RBI double by Chas McCormick, cutting the deficit in half at 2-1. That would be their lone offensive highlight of the day, though, as Oakland's bullpen would finish the job to hand Houston the loss and kept the Astros from the series sweep.

Up Next: Houston will now turn their attention to a weekend series with the visiting Yankees, starting with Friday night's opener at 7:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup for the game is expected to be Nestor Cortes (0-0, 1.29 ERA) for New York and Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.70 ERA) for the Astros.

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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