ANAHEIM -- No left-hander in Astros history has ever thrown a no-hitter. Dallas Keuchel made a serious bid to end that drought Friday night at Angel Stadium.Keuchel won his fourth consecutive start by holding the Angels to one run and two hits in 7 2/3 innings in the Astros' 3-1
ANAHEIM -- No left-hander in Astros history has ever thrown a no-hitter. Dallas Keuchel made a serious bid to end that drought Friday night at Angel Stadium.
Keuchel won his fourth consecutive start by holding the Angels to one run and two hits in 7 2/3 innings in the Astros' 3-1 victory, losing a no-hitter with two outs in the seventh inning when Justin Upton's line drive glanced off the glove of shortstop Marwin Gonzalez and was ruled a hit.
Keuchel (8-8) retired 20 of the first 21 batters he faced, allowing a leadoff walk to David Fletcher in the fourth for the Angels' only baserunner through six innings. Keuchel is 5-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his last seven starts, allowing no homers in 45 innings in that span.
"This is what I planned out for myself before the season started," Keuchel said. "It's nice to get off to a fast start, but being injured for the middle months -- seems like the last two years -- I focused on trying to hit my stride in July and August and I couldn't feel better."
Astros manager AJ Hinch lauded Keuchel's fastball command and his exceptional use of the changeup.
"He arguably never should have given up a run -- maybe not even a hit," he said. "There was a lot of good tonight in Dallas and he came out ready to go."
In the seventh, Andrelton Simmons led off with a sinking liner that left fielder Kyle Tucker casually caught just above the ground. Michael Trout lined out softly back to Keuchel before Upton hit a 101.8-mph liner that Gonzalez couldn't catch. It was ruled a hit, but Hinch and even Gonzalez thought it should have been an error, which would have kept the no-hitter alive.
"[Keuchel] did amazing today, one of the best games of the season," Gonzalez said. "Unfortunately, it was a tough day for me and I couldn't help him the way I should have. That happens."
The fans booed when "base hit" was posted on the scoreboard, but the official scorer's call became moot when Ian Kinsler led off the eighth with a clean single. Kinsler reached third on a bounced throw by Gonzalez that wasn't ruled an error and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jabari Blash, who was the final batter Keuchel faced.
"I would put that as an error, and the other, too, that I threw to third," Gonzalez said. "In my personal opinion, it should have been an error. I don't know why they got a hit for the first one. That changed the game a little bit for him and the momentum. But for me, that was an error."
George Springer, who bashed a homer in the 10th inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday, began the game with a single and scored on a Jose Altuve single. The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the second when Josh Reddick made an aggressive read and scored from third on a shallow ball to center that was caught by the second baseman. Reddick's RBI triple in the third scored Evan Gattis for a 3-0 lead.
"No doubt, Dallas pitched a good game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We hit four or five balls on the nose and had nothing to show for it. But not to take anything away from Dallas. He pitched a good game, and kept the ball away from our barrels. We hit a lot of ground balls."
The Astros are the first defending World Series champion to win 65 of their first 100 games since the 1968 Cardinals.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
A terrific diving catch by Yuli Gurriel to rob Upton to end the fourth inning helped preserve Keuchel's no-hit bid. With an 83.6-mph exit velocity and 10-degree launch angle, the ball had a 57-percent hit probability, according to Statcast™. Gurriel was able to dive to his right and catch the ball, allowing Keuchel to send down 12 of the first 13 hitters he faced.
HE SAID IT
"Nowadays, the no-hitter alerts comes in the fourth or fifth inning. I can just hear it even though I don't have my phone with me." -- Hinch
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Astros got a call overturned in the first inning that led to a run. Springer, who led off the game with a single, was tagged out at first base when he strayed too far off the bag, but the Astros challenged the out call and it was overturned. Springer wound up scoring on an Altuve single.
Justin Verlander (9-5, 2.29 ERA) starts for the Astros in Saturday's 6:15 p.m. CT game against the Angels at Minute Maid Park. Verlander, who went 0-3 with a 4.10 ERA in his final six starts before the All-Star break, threw a five-hit shutout in his previous start against the Angels on May 16 in Anaheim. Former Astros pitcher Nick Tropeano (3-4, 4.83 ERA) starts for the Angels.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.