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|Dallas Keuchel had a different catcher before throwing his first pitch for the Houston Astros on Tuesday night. Everything worked out just fine with Tim Federowicz behind the plate with the former AL Cy Young Award winner throwing some of his best breaking pitches all season.
Keuchel struck out seven and allowed only two runs over seven scoreless innings Ian Thomas Color Rush Jersey , winning for only the second time in his last nine starts, as the Astros beat the Texas Rangers 5-3.
”Some of the shape it was taking early was really good. (Shin-Soo) Choo leading off the game, anytime you get him to swing and miss at a breaking pitch, it’s acting pretty good, and then (Nomar) Mazara struck out looking with a slider away,” Keuchel said. ”Both of those balls had good action and I knew from the then on if I could establish the fastball in to the lefties, it would be a good day.”
Josh Reddick and Tony Kemp homered for the Astros, who are 11-4 this season against their instate division rival, with seven consecutive road wins in the series. Houston is a majors-best 31-14 on the road this season.
Keuchel (5-8) struck out the first four batters he faced, and six of the first seven.
After catcher Brian McCann went on the disabled list and had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee earlier Tuesday, manager A.J. Hinch said Max Stassi would do the bulk of the catching. But Stassi got hit by a pitch batting in the first, and left the game with a bruised right (throwing) wrist before even taking the field on defense.
”I think we avoided a fracture, very good for us,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”Got him pretty good in the wrist. Got a welt there, couldn’t flex his hand, hand so mobility.”
X-rays were negative and Stassi is considered day to day.
Keuchel had only thrown a few bullpens with Federowicz in spring training, and a live BP session, before the catcher was called back from Triple-A Fresno earlier Tuesday.
”The way he handled the game not expecting to play, that was really impressive,” Keuchel said.
Choo later walked twice and had two singles to extend his career-best on-base streak to 43 games, the longest in the majors since Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman’s 46-gamer two years ago. Choo is three games shy of Julio Franco’s team record of 46 in a row set 25 years ago.
The Astros used three relievers to get through the eighth. Texas already had a run in before Hector Rondon took over against pinch-hitter Joey Gallo Joel Iyiegbuniwe Color Rush Jersey , who worked a 12-pitch at-bat into a two-out walk to load the bases before Robinson Chirinos struck out. Rondon then worked the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances.
Houston went ahead to stay in the first when Yuli Gurriel and Reddick had RBI doubles off Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-2), who still managed to get through six innings. He struck out four, walked two and hit two batters.
”To get through six in that situation was huge for us,” manager Jeff Banister said. ”Early on it didn’t look that it was going to be the case, a situation where really didn’t have a whole lot of sink on the fastball. … For us to still have an opportunity there through those innings, it was big-time by him.”
Astros: SS Carlos Correa, out since June 26 with lower back soreness, has been working out daily in Houston. Hinch said it was uncertain if Correa will be ready to play Friday when eligible to come off the DL. He hadn’t gone through any baseball activities yet.
Rangers: RHP Tony Barnette left the game after a 2-1 pitch to Marwin Gonzalez in the eighth. The Rangers said he had a right shoulder strain and would be evaluated further Wednesday. … 1B Ronald Guzman had two hits and scored twice after being activated from the seven-day concussion DL.
The Astros have homered in 23 consecutive road games, a club record and four from matching the MLB record set by Oakland earlier this season. … Before Bibens-Dirkx plunked Stassi in the first inning, Rangers pitchers had gone 22 games without hitting a batter – the longest span for the team since 1998.
DOUBLE DOUBLED UP
Astros leadoff hitter George Springer was in a 3-for-46 slide before a single in the sixth. But he was also doubled off twice on hard lineouts.
Gerrit Cole (9-2) will pitch on regular rest for the Astros after they made a slight tweak in their rotation. Lance McCullers Jr., who was scheduled to start, was instead pushed back to Friday. Rangers lefty Mike Minor (6-4) took a perfect game into the seventh inning of his last start, a win last Wednesday over the San Diego Padres.
BALTIMORE — The Los Angeles Angels broke a six-game losing streak on Friday night. They hit two homers and scored a 7-1 victory over the slumping Baltimore Orioles.
That’s a step in the right direction for a team that’s struggled lately, and the Angels hope to keep moving forward in the second game of this weekend series on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET at Camden Yards.
The Angels have been battered by injuries, and manager Mike Scioscia is hoping they can turn things around.
“It’s been tough,” Scioscia said. “We’ve been banged up, a lot of injuries. When you lose the top guys in your rotation and a lot of starters, it’s tough. We’re just grinding through a rough stretch right now, so we’re just trying to turn it around.”
The Angels (42-41) will send left-hander Tyler Skaggs (6-5, 2.69 ERA) to pitch Saturday versus Baltimore’s Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.70).
Skaggs has been effective in June Roquan Smith Color Rush Jersey , going 3-1 with an 0.67 ERA. He lost his last start, on Monday against the Royals, despite giving up just one run in seven innings.
He has no record or ERA after pitching just once against the Orioles, who now have lost six in a row. Skagg’s only appearance against Baltimore was a start in 2014, when he pitched shutout ball over 4 2/3 innings, allowing no hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Cashner has struggled at times this season but also thrown well despite not getting much help from his team’s bats. He has not recorded a win since May 21.
Cashner has made five career appearances, including two starts, against the Angels and has a 1-0 mark with a 3.94 ERA.
The Orioles’ already injury-riddled bullpen took another hit when the team said Friday that reliever Darren O’Day, on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, is deciding whether to have surgery on the leg.
The sidewinder has been moved to the 60-day disabled list, so he won’t be back until at least late August. He injured the hamstring when trying to field a bunt against Seattle earlier this week.
Baltimore made a flurry of moves Friday. The Orioles recalled left-hander Paul Fry and right-hander Ryan Meisinger from Triple-A Norfolk.
Both made their major league debuts in Friday’s loss. Meisinger came in first, and the right-hander allowed one run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings. Fry also went 1 2/3 innings but did not give up a run. The left-hander struck out the first two hitters he faced — including Mike Trout.
The Orioles also optioned starters/long men Jimmy Yacabonis and Yefry Ramirez back to Norfolk after they combined to pitch nine innings versus the Mariners Thursday. In a separate move, the Orioles designated infielder Corban Joseph (brother of catcher Caleb) for assignment.
Baltimore now stands at 23-58 at the halfway point, one of the worst records in major league history. In addition, the Orioles have lost 16 of their past 17 home games.
Still, manager Buck Showalter is holding out hope that the team can do something positive in the final 81 games and wants the Orioles to believe that also.
“(The first half) has been tougher on our fans and our players (than on me),” Showalter said. “As tough and as bad as things have been for 81 games, they can be just as good the other way around.”