Dallas Keuchel worked six strong innings, Alex Bregman homered for a third consecutive game, and the Houston Astros claimed the opener of their three-game series with the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday at Minute Maid Park.
Keuchel (11-10) retired the Twins in order only twice, in the second and fifth innings, yet pitched stress-free despite the constant traffic on the base paths. He induced a fielder’s choice groundout from Miguel Sano to escape a bases-loaded jam in the first and worked around leadoff baserunners in the third and fourth by retiring the subsequent three batters in order.
After posting five scoreless frames, Keuchel finally surrendered an unearned run in the sixth when Sano slapped an opposite-field single to right that plated catcher Mitch Garver. Garver and Sano sandwiched hits around Robbie Grossman reaching on a throwing error by shortstop Carlos Correa, but Keuchel recovered to punch out Jake Cave and Tyler Austin to end the inning.
Keuchel allowed one unearned run on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings. He tossed 100 pitches and has surrendered three or fewer runs in 11 of 12 starts.
Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (7-12) pitched effectively in opposition of Keuchel, save for the long ball. Bregman crushed his 28th home run 369 feet to left field with two outs in the first, recording an exit velocity of 106.1 miles per hour while providing the Astros a 1-0 advantage.
Yuli Gurriel homered with one out in the fourth inning, his ninth dinger extending the lead to 4-0. Gibson, who allowed an RBI single to catcher Brian McCann as part of the Astros’ two-run second inning, followed by retiring the final 11 batters he faced and worked seven innings with four hits, one walk, and five strikeouts on his ledger. Two of the four runs allowed were earned.
Minnesota fell to 2-5 on its nine-game road trip and has won three of its last 13 meetings with Houston. The Astros reached 32 games over .500 for the first time this season.
—Field Level Media