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A weekly look at all things Houston sports from the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority: Bob McNair picks up an award

Texans owner Bob McNair is set to be honored. Bob Levey/Getty Images

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In a year filled with #HoustonStrong moments, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame added one more to the list when it chose to honor Houston Texans owner Bob McNair with the Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award.

McNair, a businessman and philanthropist who brought the NFL back to Houston after the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee, is the sixth recipient of the TSHOF’s highest honor.

He will be honored at a March 1 reception and dinner at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame with their Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award,” McNair said. “Sports, especially football, have been a passion for the better part of my life. I am humbled to be recognized for simply doing that which has brought me so much joy.”

McNair is the first Houstonian to earn the honor. He joins Don Carter,  the founding owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Sidekicks; former San Antonio Spurs owner Red McCombs; former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr.; legendary Waco sportswriter and sports editor Dave Campbell and former University of Houston Athletic Director Rudy Davalos as winners of the Lamar Hunt Award.

"It's quite an honor," McNair to the Houston Chronicle in June. "There's some great sports owners who have been honored this way. I'm delighted and humbled that I'd be included in the group.

“It is special because many of the honors I've received were based on things I did in prior endeavors. This is in my sports endeavor. That's a real honor to be recognized that way."

McNair’s vision to return the NFL to Houston started in1998 and on October 6,1999, the NFL awarded the 32nd franchise to McNair. Houston has subsequently hosted two Super Bowls – in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl LI last February.

McNair’s legacy in Houston also extends to his philanthropic efforts to, among others, Rice UniversityBaylor College of Medicine, Houston Grand Opera and the Museum of Fine Arts.

“We are thrilled to recognize Bob McNair’s incredible impact on sports in the state of Texas,” said TSHOF President and CEO Cooper Jones. “He not only brought professional football back to the City of Houston, but his strong leadership and unwavering commitment to his community, and the state of Texas, is truly an example for us all.”

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If you’re still looking for a holiday gift for a sports fan in your family, or want to give yourself a little gift, think about purchasing a Golden Ticket. The $100 ticket – there are only 500 available -- enters you in the inagural Houston Sports Awards Golden Ticket Raffle and gives you a chance to win a pair of season tickets to all Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, Houston Dynamo, Rodeo Houston & Houston Open home games/events during the 2018-19 season. In addition, the winner receives tickets for two Houston Texans home games, the 2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff and the 2018 Texas Bowl. The Houston Sports Awards is February 8 at the Hilton Americas. Information on event and the Golden Ticket is available at www.houstonsportsawards.com

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Houston drops first of three

Mariners heat up late to take series opener over Astros

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With the playoffs just a little over a week away, the Astros started their last week of regular-season games in Seattle against the Mariners. A couple of wins against them would secure Houston's spot as the AL West's second playoff participant, with Oakland all but having locked up the first spot sitting six games in front of Houston with seven left to play. Here is a quick rundown of the opener from T-Mobile Park:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 1.

Record: 27-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (7-2, 3.06 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA).

Bitter end to an impressive start for McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers would take a scoreless deep late into Monday night's game. While the Astros were trying to figure out Marco Gonzalez, Lance McCullers Jr. was repeating the success of his last start, a seven-inning two-hit start against the Rangers.

McCullers Jr. allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, then proceeded to retire the next fourteen batters before a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mariners their first hit of the night. He would go on to finish the sixth before things unraveled in the seventh.

A leadoff walk would result in a run after an error by Jose Altuve left runners on first and second, setting up an RBI-double to give the Mariners the first run of the night and a 1-0 lead. McCullers Jr. looked like he was going to cap off his night by stranding the runners on second and third after back-to-back strikeouts, but before he could get the last out of the inning allowed a three-run home run to blow the game open at 4-0. His final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Mariners take the opener

Despite getting several hits against him along the way, Houston could not get anything substantial going against Gonzalez, who would shutout the Astros over eight innings of work. After Enoli Paredes finished the seventh, Brandon Bielak would take over out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth.

He struggled mightily, loading the bases with no outs, including a hit batter before allowing a two-RBI single to extend Seattle's lead to 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick. That would be too little, too late as the 6-1 score would go final as the Mariners took the opener, keeping the Astros' magic number at two.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 8:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. On the mound will be Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA) for the Astros and Ljay Newsome (0-1, 6.35 ERA) for the Mariners.

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