After the late inning fireworks from Saturday evening, Dallas Keuchel settled a good-hitting Texas Rangers lineup down for seven innings to help the Houston Astros win the second-half opening series against their North Texas Rivals. Keuchel allowed just two hits in those seven innings while setting a new single-game high for strikeouts with 13.
After the game, Astros Manager A.J. Hinch was asked about any possible emotions for Keuchel following the late-inning dust up from Saturday, “Dallas has no problem with emotion on a daily basis when he pitches. I don’t know that he had any extra than usual. He loves to compete so he doesn’t need any extra motivation.”
After a Josh Hamilton single to lead-off the second inning, Keuchel did not allow a base runner for the rest of his outing, retiring the last 15 hitters he faced.
“It was vintage Dallas Keuchel with a few more strikeouts. He ended the game with 13 punchouts, six ground balls and a couple of pop-ups. He’s been doing it like this really the whole year. Keuchel’s arrived. He’s a threat every time he goes out there,” said Hinch of the start of his ace.
The Astros bullpen finished off the Rangers in the eighth and ninth innings allowing one hit, a double to Adam Rosales, with one strikeout.
The Houston offense got started early and struck often as they were able to knock out Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo after just four innings. In the third, Houston had five hits in a row including three for extra bases to score three runs, which was capped off by a Colby Rasmus home run, his 12th of the season. In the fifth and sixth innings, the Astros played add-on with a couple of 2-RBI singles from third basemen Luis Valbuena to give them 5-0 and 8-0 leads. Valbuena, who came into the game with a .197 batting average on the season, went 4-5 with four runs batted in for the home nine on Sunday. The four hits were a career high for the lefty and the four RBIs tied a career-high set this year against the San Diego Padres.
“The singles are noteable, he’s had a hard time finding singles. He gets some home runs and extra-base hits, but it was nice to see him come back,” remarked Hinch when Asked about Valbuena after the game. Evan Gattis and Carlos Correa each added two hits to the Houston tally with Correa adding an RBI as well.
The Astros have a day off on Monday before starting a three game set with the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. Hinch announced on Sunday that Vince Velasquez will get the start on Tuesday with Collin McHugh pitching on Wednesday for Houston.