The downfall of the 2016 Houston Astros has personified by the terrible start for 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, Dallas Keuchel. In 10 starts entering Saturday, Keuchel had given up five-plus runs in five starts. He did that only three times all of 2015.
So the Astros slow climb back into the 2016 race will again be personified by Keuchel. Keuchel looked like his old self against the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Stadium on Saturday in a 4-2 win.
Keuchel moved around the zone effortless all game and changed eye level to keep batters off balance. The Angels only had three hits in the game total -- all against Keuchel. Two of those hits were solo home runs from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the first inning -- its was Pujols' 52nd home run against the Astros.
But Keuchel settled down, he retired the Angels in order over his final five innings of work -- 15 up, 15 down.
The Astros had actually given the Keuchel a lead in the top of the first when he gave up the two home runs. George Springer continued to show that he loves leading off -- he smacked a double down the left field line.
Springer tested Mike Trout's arm and tagged up on a Jose Altuve fly ball, reaching the base easily. Carlos Correa flipped a pitch on the ground to the right side, allowing Springer to score.
Altuve helped the Astros' score the tieing score in the fifth inning. Jake Marisnick used his speed to full advance, reaching on an infield single and stealing second. Tony Kemp and George Springer loaded the bases with a walk and single respectively. Altuve lifted another deep fly ball, allowing Marisnick to score.
The Astros were in business in the sixth inning. Evan Gattis was hit by a pitch and Luis Valbuena walked to put two on with no outs.
Colin Moran after getting his first major league hit on Friday grounded into his second double play of the game. There were no two outs but Gattis on third. But Gattis could easily trot home from third as Jason Castro blasted a home run to dead center on a 1-2 count.
The Astros led 4-2 and that is all Keuchel and the bullpen needed. Pat Neshek, Tony Sipp, and Luke Gregerson combined to get the final six outs. Gregerson picked up his 11th save.