Dallas Keuchel threw a complete game Monday in Baltimore, and then threw another complete game Saturday. The Astros scored three runs in both games, but the results were quite different.
The Astros' early-season Cy Young favorite turned in a masterpiece Saturday, throwing a complete game shutout and striking out a career-high 11 batters in Houston's 3-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. The Astros (31-19), which had lost three of four, have hit another milestone in their outstanding start: This is Houston's best 50-game start in franchise history.
In Monday's complete game loss to the Orioles' Keuchel surrendered a pair of two-run home runs. On Saturday, Keuchel allowed just four singles and did not walk a batter. White Sox catcher Geovany Soto reached third base in the third inning with one out, but Keuchel struck out the next two batters. No Chicago player reached second base for the rest of the afternoon. With the shutout, Keuchel improved to 7-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.76.
Houston needed Keuchel to be close to perfect for most of the day as the Astros protected a 1-0 lead. Jonathan Villar's sacrifice fly scored Preston Tucker in the fourth inning on what could have been an out at home, but the ball was jarred loose at home when Tucker slid in.
As the Astros have done for much of the year, they tacked on late. Back-to-back solo blasts by Evan Gattis and Chris Carter in the bottom of the eighth afforded Keuchel some unnecessary breathing room. Gattis, who was 2-for-4 on the day, is hitting .359 with four homers and nine RBI in his last 10 games. Carter, meanwhile, is hitting .278 in his last 10 with a homer and nine RBI. Perhaps the big men are starting to heat up.
Oh, and that Tucker guy, he was 2-for-4 with a run scored, upping his average to .328 since joining the Astros.
The Astros will look to take two-of-three tomorrow by sending Roberto Hernandez to the hill against Chicago's John Danks.