CLEVELAND -- In a matchup of two of the American League's top clubs, Dallas Keuchel was once again on top of his game. The Houston lefty continued his strong start to the season, stifling the Indians in a 4-2 victory on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.Behind a complete-game six-hitter, Keuchel
CLEVELAND -- In a matchup of two of the American League's top clubs, Dallas Keuchel was once again on top of his game. The Houston lefty continued his strong start to the season, stifling the Indians in a 4-2 victory on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Behind a complete-game six-hitter, Keuchel improved to 4-0 on the young season for the AL West-leading Astros, ending the night with a 1.22 ERA. The left-hander struck out five and sidestepped the potential harm of the three walks he issued. Keuchel has now thrown 11 complete games in his career.
• Castrovince: Keuchel owning the low zone with precision
"There were a ton of great defensive plays behind me tonight, and I owe a lot to the defense," Keuchel said. "I honestly didn't think I was going to do very well just based on how I felt in the bullpen and how it started."
In the eighth inning of the win, though, the Astros lost both second baseman Jose Altuve and right fielder Teoscar Hernandez to injury after the two were involved in a scary collision in right field. Hernandez was hobbled by a bruised lower left leg, but Altuve seemed to be fine and may return when the series resumes on Wednesday night.
Right-hander Josh Tomlin turned in his second straight quality start (three runs allowed in six innings, with six strikeouts and no walks), but a four-batter lapse in the fifth inning was enough damage in light of the way Keuchel was throwing. In that stretch, Houston connected for four straight hits, including an RBI double from Norichika Aoki and a two-run single from Josh Reddick.
Cleveland's two breakthroughs against Keuchel came via solo home runs. Austin Jackson belted his first of the season (and first since Oct. 1, 2015) in the third inning, and Michael Brantley added another in the ninth. Brantley's drive was his fourth of the year.
"He came as advertised," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Keuchel. "He's always one pitch away from a double play. He's a really good pitcher. That's the understatement of the day. He's a good pitcher that's on a roll, and that makes it even tougher."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Reddick's robbery: Playing only his second game in center this season, Reddick halted a would-be Indians rally in the fifth with a highlight-reel leaping catch at the wall. Jason Kipnis sent a pitch from Keuchel to deep center, where it appeared destined to clear the fence. Reddick timed his jump perfectly, reaching over the yellow line to reel in the ball. As he rounded first base, Kipnis threw his head back in disbelief.
"It was tough," Reddick said. "Off the bat, it didn't look like he got all of it. The wind felt like it was blowing up, but fortunately, I was playing him on the right side and I was able to get back there in time. I almost tripped up at the last second. Fortunately, I was able to get there and the ball was just high enough for me to get over [the wall]." More >
• Reddick must've been wearing his Spider-Man undershirt
Tomlin vs. Aoki: Working with a 1-0 lead, Tomlin allowed consecutive singles to open the fifth, setting up a key nine-pitch battle with Aoki. Houston's right fielder watched the first four pitches, working into a 2-2 count. Aoki then fouled off four straight low-and-away pitches (two cutters, one curve and a changeup). The decisive offering was an inside two-seamer, which Aoki pulled over the head of right fielder Brandon Guyer for a game-tying double. Reddick followed with his two-run single to put the Astros ahead for good.
"I was just trying to go fastball down and in," Tomlin said. "He was kind of leaking out of the box a little bit and kind of getting to that outside pitch, fouling them off, spoiling some pitches. … He did a good job of just trying to drop the head, dropping the barrel to the ball. That changed the game. That's what ended up winning the game for them."
• Tito's faith in Guyer not swayed by struggles
ALTUVE, HERNANDEZ INJURED
Altuve and Hernandez collided in the eighth while trying to track down a fly ball from Yan Gomes. Both players went down hard and left the game after spending several minutes with the Astros' medical personnel. Altuve walked off under his own power and was shaken up, but Hernandez was carted off the field with a lower left leg bruise. George Springer, himself hobbled, and Marwin Gonzalez took over in the field in right and at second, respectively.
"Nasty collision -- both guys going 100 percent after the ball. I don't know if either one of them called it, but that's a scary scene," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. More >
Astros:Lance McCullers (2-0, 3.38 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the Indians when he gets the start in Wednesday's 5:10 p.m. CT game at Progressive Field. The right-hander is coming off his best outing of the season, against the Angels on Thursday, when he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out eight batters.
Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (1-2, 6.35 ERA) will take the mound for the Tribe at 6:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Bauer has gone 5-0 with a 1.97 ERA in five career starts (32 innings) against Houston.
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