Keuchel Returns From D.L., Defeats Orioles

Even the most dominant starting pitchers are allowed to have a bad outing every once in a while. That is unless you are Dallas Keuchel. After missing a turn through the rotation with a pinched nerve in his neck that forced a stint on the ten-day disabled list, Keuchel picked right up Saturday night where he left off, throwing six innings of one run baseball, helping the Astros defeat Baltimore 5-2 at Minute Maid Park.

Keuchel improved to 8-0 with a 1.81 ERA. The wins lead the American League and his earned run average is second best. His eight-game winning streak is the longest active one in the majors this season. The win also propelled the Astros to a 34-16 record through 50 games. Last year the club didn’t win its 34th game until game number 70.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch complimented Keuchel by calling him “focused” and his performance good, especially with his ability to make adjustments in game.

“He just has ways to answer every challenge,” Hinch added. “That’s what makes him special.”

Keuchel was satisfied with his performance.

“I felt good,” he said. “Hopefully I will take the next step and continue to progress and get back to hopefully seven or eight innings.”

The Astros provided Keuchel with an early advantage, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. George Springer singled and scored on a Jose Altuve double, diving across the plate just in front of a tag attempt from Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph. Altuve scored on an infield single from Carlos Correa.

The lone blemish against Keuchel came in the third inning when he walked Joseph with two outs and would later score on a Wellington Castillo single.

Springer responded in the fourth with his tenth homer run of the year, a towering blast to the train tracks in left center field that measured 447 feet and pushed the Astros lead to 4-1.

The Astros added their final run in the seventh when Altuve collected his third hit of the game, swiped second base and scored when Correa single and center fielder Joey Rickard over-ran the baseball.

Will Harris earned his second save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.

The Astros and Orioles will wrap up a three-game series Sunday in a 1:10 p.m. start. Lance McCullers Jr. (5-1 2.43) will start for Houston against Baltimore’s Alec Asher (1-2 2.17)

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