Houston at Los Angeles

Scoreboard
Houston (17-28) «3110000005100
Los Angeles (24-20)000000002261

Keuchel dominant again; Astros win third straight

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Dallas Keuchel couldn't complain after he got two chances to record the final out for what would have been his second successive shutout.

Even though the Houston left-hander barely missed the big finish, he happily settled for another victory for the suddenly surging Astros.

Keuchel pitched 8⅔ innings of dominant five-hit ball, and Houston beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 on Monday night for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Keuchel (5-2) followed up his first career shutout with another gem, striking out eight with just one walk. He didn't allow a runner past second base until the ninth, when manager Bo Porter reluctantly pulled him after two-out singles by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

"I think anybody would want to finish that game, but at the end of the day, we got the win," Keuchel said. "We're playing fun. It's fun right now. A lot of people are seeing what we're capable of doing."

Porter left Keuchel in after Trout barely beat out a grounder, but the manager returned to pull him after Pujols' hard grounder glanced off Matt Dominguez's glove at third on Keuchel's 128th pitch.

Howie Kendrick followed with a two-run triple off Josh Zeid, who got C.J. Cron on a grounder to end the Angels' third loss in 11 games.

"I don't think you're ever disappointed when you win," Porter said. "Dallas threw the ball tremendous, and we gave him every opportunity to get the complete-game shutout. It didn't happen, but it doesn't diminish what he did."

Keuchel improved to 5-1 in his last eight starts. He has yielded four runs, 18 hits and one walk over 25 1-3 innings in three straight dominant outings.

He figures it's the best work of his pro career, but not the best of his life.

"I think I had a pretty good stretch in high school," Keuchel said.

Jason Castro and Dominguez drove in runs during a three-run first inning for the Astros, who got 10 hits off Garrett Richards (4-1) in the opener of a 10-game road trip.

Dexter Fowler and Chris Carter also drove in runs for the Astros (17-28), who still have the AL's worst record despite six wins in their last eight games.

Keuchel baffled the Angels, whose only hits in the first seven innings were back-to-back singles by Pujols and Kendrick in the fourth.

"We didn't have to do too much but be a spectator," said Fowler, who has reached base in 17 straight games. "When a guy is pitching like that, you just want to make plays to help him out."

Houston's bats also are improving just in time for a three-game series at Angel Stadium, where the Astros have won seven of their past eight. The Astros have at least nine hits in nine consecutive games for the first time since June 2007.

Richards yielded a season-high 10 hits and five runs over seven innings, leaving him with only two victories in his past seven starts despite his impressive record.

"Finding a way to throw seven innings after going through all that in the first three isn't an easy thing to do," Richards said. "I put up some zeros and kept us in the ballgame and gave us a chance to score runs. I think that's part of my maturity and my progression as a starting pitcher."

Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a leadoff double in the first. He advanced to third on Richards' major league-leading 10th wild pitch and then scored when Richards comically lobbed a pickoff attempt into left-field foul territory.

Castro and Dominguez followed with run-scoring singles. Fowler drove in another run with a two-out single in the second, but cost the Astros a second run when he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double while George Springer ran home from first.

"He made some adjustments as the game went on, bringing his two-seamer in and making some pitches to get some double-play balls, which was good to see," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Richards. "But the damage was obviously done, and we didn't pressure them enough offensively to get back in it."

Notes

Fowler drew a walk in his career-best ninth consecutive game, the first Houston player to accomplish that feat since Morgan Ensberg in 2006. ... Angels LHP Hector Santiago, who lost his job in the rotation and hadn't pitched in eight days, retired all six batters he faced in relief. ... Angels opening-day starters Kole Calhoun and David Freese both had extra-base hits during rehab assignments with Triple-A Salt Lake.

 
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Dallas Keuchel barely misses notching back-to-back shutouts and settles for his fifth victory in his past eight starts.  (USATSI)
Dallas Keuchel barely misses notching back-to-back shutouts and settles for his fifth victory in his past eight starts. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

H. Kendrick
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Houston

D. Keuchel
IP 8.2
H 5
ER 2
BB 1
K 8
 

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Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B4220001 .305
George Springer, RF3110101 .237
Dexter Fowler, CF3111100 .268
Jason Castro, C4121000 .225
Matt Dominguez, 3B4021001 .264
Chris Carter, DH4011013 .197
Marc Krauss, 1B3000003 .184
   a-Jesus Guzman, PH-1B1000000 .217
Alex Presley, LF4000011 .215
Marwin Gonzalez, SS3010000 .267
Dallas Keuchel, P0000000 .000
   Josh Zeid, P0000000 .000
Totals33510422  
a-grounded out for Krauss in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jose Altuve (14, Richards), Jason Castro (5, Richards)
RBI - Dexter Fowler (13), Jason Castro (22), Matt Dominguez (19), Chris Carter (17)
2-OUT RBI - Dexter Fowler (3)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - M. Gonzalez-Altuve-Krauss, M. Gonzalez-Altuve-Krauss-Keuchel-Altuve-Krauss
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dallas Keuchel (W,5-2) 8.2522180 2.92
Josh Zeid 0.1100000 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Keuchel 128-82, Josh Zeid 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Keuchel 14-2, Josh Zeid 1-0
Batters Faced - Dallas Keuchel 30, Josh Zeid 2
Los Angeles (A.L.) Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Erick Aybar, SS4000011 .259
Mike Trout, CF4110010 .263
Albert Pujols, 1B4120010 .274
Howie Kendrick, 2B4022010 .304
C.J. Cron, DH4000012 .289
Grant Green, LF3010010 .366
Chris Iannetta, C2000101 .239
Efren Navarro, RF3000011 .318
Luis Jimenez, 3B3000011 .160
Garrett Richards, P0000000 .000
   Hector Santiago, P0000000 .000
Totals3126218  
Batting
3B - Howie Kendrick (3, Zeid)
RBI - Howie Kendrick 2 (22)
2-OUT RBI - Howie Kendrick 2 (14)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Efren Navarro 1
DP - Aybar-Pujols, Aybar-Pujols-Jimenez-Aybar-Pujols, Aybar-Pujols-Jimenez-Aybar-Pujols-Aybar-Pujols
E - Garrett Richards (2, Throwing)
Los Angeles (A.L.) Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Garrett Richards (L,4-1) 71055210 2.90
Hector Santiago 2000010 4.82
WP - Garrett Richards (10)
Pitches-Strikes - Garrett Richards 98-64, Hector Santiago 28-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Garrett Richards 6-10, Hector Santiago 3-2
Batters Faced - Garrett Richards 29, Hector Santiago 6
Game Information
Attendance - 33150
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Gerry Davis, Third Base - Quinn Wolcott