Much like he was in his first four starts of the 2017 regular season, Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel was on his game when he took the mound against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field Tuesday night.
Keuchel allowed just six hits and two earned runs on the way to Houston’s 4-2 win over the Indians (10-9). The Astros improved to an American League West Division-best 14-6 on the season with the win.
Keuchel struck out five Indians batters, and got 19 outs with three or less pitches and 14 were groundouts.
The Indians got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning when center fielder Austin Jackson took an 0-1 pitch from Keuchel over the wall in right-center field for a one-out solo home run and a 1-0 lead, but the Astros had quite the response in the top of the fifth.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led off the frame with a single to left field, and then, designated hitter Evan Gattis followed with an infield single to shortstop. With two on and nobody out, left fielder Norichika Aoki fouled off four straight pitches before he doubled to shallow left-center field and brought around Gurriel.
Center fielder Josh Reddick kept the rally going by singling to left-center field, which drove in both Gattis and Aoki.
The Indians appeared as though they would get a run back in the bottom of the fifth inning when second baseman Jason Kipnis lifted a fly ball to deep center field, but Reddick timed his jump corrected and brought the ball back over the wall for the first out of the inning.
The Astros added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning when Reddick singled home Gattis, who was hit by a Nick Goody pitch earlier in the frame. Gattis moved into scoring position when Aoki reached base on an infield single, which turned into a two-base hit when catcher Yan Gomes committed a throwing error.
Left fielder Michael Brantley smashed a solo home run to right field to start the bottom of the ninth inning, but the rally fell short when right fielder Brandon Guyer could not come through with a hit with two on and two out, as he grounded out to shortstop for the final out of the game.
Although the Indians got just six hits in the game, they left plenty of scoring opportunities on the field, starting in the bottom of the second inning.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez smashed a one-out double to deep right field, and Kipnis followed by reaching first base safely because of a throwing error charged to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. However, Guyer grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, first baseman Carlos Santana drew a five-pitch walk from Keuchel, but on an 0-1 pitch, shortstop Francisco Lindor grounded into another inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Indians looked to have something going in the bottom of the eighth inning, but again, could not come through with the clutch hit.
After Gomes singled on a fly ball to right-center field, one that resulted in a collision between Altuve and defensive substitute Teoscar Hernandez, Santana reached on an infield single off of Keuchel’s glove. However, Lindor lined out to third base for the final out of the inning.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin allowed eight hits and three earned runs over six innings of work. However, Tomlin commanded the strike zone well, registering six strikeouts and not allowing a walk.
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