Keuchel pitches Astros to Game 1 win over Yankees
HOUSTON—Dallas Keuchel continued his mastery of the New York Yankees, twirling seven shutout innings to pace the Houston Astros to a 2-1 victory on Friday night, Oct. 13, at Minute Maid Park in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.
Keuchel (1-0) surrendered only four hits and issued just one walk while recording 10 strikeouts to become just the third pitcher in franchise history to record a double-digit strikeout game in the postseason. Right-handers Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan accomplished the feat against the New York Mets in Games 1 and 5 of the 1986 National League Championship Series.
After tossing 97 pitches through six innings, Keuchel returned for the seventh and set the Yankees down in order.
He retired the final six batters he faced and improved to 6-2 with a 1.09 ERA against the Yankees, including a pair of postseason victories. Keuchel worked six scoreless innings while pitching Houston to a 3-0 win in the 2015 AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium.
The Astros mustered all the offense they would need in the fourth inning. Jose Altuve produced the first hit of the game off Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (0-1) with a one-out infield single before adding a stolen base that put him in scoring position for Carlos Correa.
Correa followed with a sharp single to left field that scored Altuve and, two batters later, Correa came home with Yuli Gurriel single to center field with two outs, doubling the lead.
Tanaka worked six strong innings, allowing four hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
Altuve produced the only multi-hit game of the opener, finishing 3-for-4.
Astros closer Ken Giles tallied a five-out save, stranding a pair of baserunners with a strikeout of Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius in the eighth inning before surrendering a two-out home run to Yankees first baseman Greg Bird. After Bird's homer, he struck out pinch hitter Jacoby Ellsbury to end it.
Keuchel stranded three runners through his first four innings but none had reached scoring position. An Altuve fielding error changed that in the fifth and, with two outs and runners on first and second, Keuchel engaged in a tense battle with Aaron Judge.
Judge hit a 3-2 pitch to left field and Bird, who opened the frame with a single, rounded third base and headed home. But Astros left fielder and utility man extraordinaire Marwin Gonzalez, made with an accurate throw to home plate.
Astros catcher Brian McCann fielded the ball and applied the tag on Bird to end the threat. Yankees manager Joe Girardi requested a review but the call was upheld, and Houston kept its 2-0 lead.
NOTES: Astros RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) will get the start in Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, with RHPs Brad Peacock (13-2, 3.00 ERA) and Lance McCullers (7-4, 4.25 ERA) the candidates to start Game 4. Morton allowed four runs with 10 strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings in a 10-7 win in the Bronx on May 14. ... Yankees RHP Sonny Gray, the scheduled starter for Game 4, threw a simulated game on Thursday. Gray last pitched on Oct. 5 in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Indians. ... Astros manager A.J. Hinch made one change to his ALCS roster, replacing INF Tyler White with RHP Collin McHugh. Facing the potential of games on three consecutive days in New York, Hinch opted to add a 12th pitcher to his roster. After not appearing in the ALDS against Cleveland, Yankees DH Matt Holliday batted eighth and was 0-for-3.