Keuchel pitches well, gets early hook

Keuchel pitches well, gets early hook
July 13, 2013, 7:30 pm
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Dallas Keuchel would like to have just one pitch back on Saturday at Tropicana Field. The left-hander also would like to have continued pitching, having been pulled after throwing 80 pitches in 5 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Keuchel got a no-decision in the Astros’ 4-3 loss. The Astros staked Keuchel to a 3-0 first-inning lead helped by a two-run home run to right field from Brett Wallace. The lead didn’t hold up as the Rays scored three runs in the fifth inning and the go-ahead run in the sixth inning off Lucas Harrell (5-10).

Keuchel was sailing through four innings against a potent Tampa Bay lineup, getting ground out after ground out. Keuchel, who had his fastball command working, got 12 ground-ball outs.

“I had some pretty good sink on my two-seam, judging by the way they were swinging at those pitches, and pretty much grounding them in the dirt,” said Keuchel. “I kept rolling with that and kept them off balance with the slider and curveball.

“The only pitch I would like to have back is the one to (Luke) Scott. I had him in a pitcher’s count. He put a good swing on it.”

Scott, a former Astro, hit a two-run home run off Keuchel in the fifth inning that reduced Houston’s lead to 3-2. The Rays tied the game 3-3 on a Desmond Jennings bunt single on the first-base side on a 3-1 count with two outs that scored Yunel Escobar, who had stolen third base.

Keuchel retired the first batter in the sixth, getting Ben Zobrist to ground out to third baseman Matt Dominguez. Manager Bo Porter then relieved Keuchel with Lucas Harrell. Keuchel was at 80 pitches and would have preferred to stay in the game a little longer.

“That’s just my mentality,” said Keuchel. “I thought I deserved it, but it’s his decision.”

Porter thought Keuchel did a great job but the manager was ready to make a change.

“Dallas did a great job,” said Porter. “After the stressful fifth inning, and you looked at the guys that they had coming up (Evan Longoria, Wil Myers, Scott), it was time to get Lucas in the game with that part of the lineup coming up.”

Keuchel allowed three runs and six hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Against the Rays last week Keuchel had five walks in a game.

“Any time you face a team you can always make adjustments,” said Keuchel. “I walked five guys last time I faced them. That’s not what I do.

“I told myself to attack the zone. I did a pretty good job of that and see where it takes me from there.”

Keuchel faced the minimum through three innings, allowing only a single to James Loney leading off the third. Loney was erased on a double play started by Keuchel.

In the second inning Keuchel was extremely productive. He retired the side in order, striking out 4-5 hitters Longoria and Myers and getting Scott to ground out to second baseman Jose Altuve for the third out.

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