Keuchel strikes out career-high 13, Astros blank Rangers

Posted at 10:07 PM, Jul 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-19 23:38:00-04

AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel said he didn't appreciate the approach Texas second baseman Rougned Odor took the previous night.

So he made the Rangers pay for it on Sunday.

Keuchel struck out a career-high 13 in seven scoreless innings, leading the Astros over the Rangers 10-0.

Odor and Houston catcher Hank Conger began jawing the plate in the ninth inning of Texas' 7-6 win Saturday night, and it escalated into a shouting match between the managers.

Conger said he thought Odor was taking too long to get in the batter's box and told him so. Earlier in the game, Odor had taken out Astros star second baseman Jose Altuve with a slide.

"When you don't show respect to other players, there's guys who will take offense to that," Keuchel said. "You don't disrespect the game of baseball. I felt like we got disrespected. I wasn't (on the field) for it, but at the same time I knew what I had to do."

Keuchel (12-4), the starting pitcher for the American League in the All-Star Game last Tuesday night, retired 18 straight batters during one stretch. He improved to 9-0 at home to become the first pitcher in franchise history to win his first nine decisions at home in a season.

"It was vintage Dallas Keuchel with a few more strikeouts," manager A.J. Hinch said. "That's our guy. There's no way around it. He's been doing it like this the whole year. A couple games where he hasn't been this dominant. Dallas Keuchel, he's arrived. He's a threat every time he goes out to put up a game like this."

The Rangers piled up a total of 29 hits in the first two games of the series, but couldn't do anything against Keuchel. He leads the AL with a 2.12 ERA.

"He utilized the strike zone and we didn't make adjustments," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "It looked like our approach got a little too big at times ... when you get behind a pitcher like that it's tough to get anything going against him."

Luis Valbuena had four hits and four RBIs, and Colby Rasmus and Preston Tucker had two-run homers.

Yovani Gallardo (7-9) yielded seven hits and tied a season-high with five runs in four-plus innings for his third straight loss.

Gallardo said he didn't feel good on the mound on Sunday.

"This is the first time I've felt like that in a long time," he said. "Just falling behind guys. Ever since the first hitter of the ball game my command wasn't there."

The Rangers continued to struggle offensively when Gallardo pitches. They haven't scored a run while he was in the game in his last four outings.

Valbuena entered the game in an 0-for-7 slump. He tied a career high for hits and matched his most RBIs.

Tucker finished with three hits and rookie Carlos Correa added two hits and an RBI.

"That's how we retaliate, we win ballgames and that's what we did today," Correa said.

Tucker hit a ground-rule double with one out in the third inning and scored on a double by Correa to put Houston up 1-0 and snap a 24 2-3 inning road scoreless streak for Gallardo. That string had surpassed a run by current Astros pitcher Scott Feldman of 22 2-3 innings in 2009.

Rasmus followed with his homer that sailed over the low fence in right field to push it to 3-0.


Astros: 1B Chris Carter was out of the lineup for the second straight game after spraining his right ankle on Friday night. He said his ankle is still sore, but that he's feeling better and the Astros hope he'll only be out for a couple of more days.


Rangers: Banister announced Sunday that left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will move to the bullpen and Nick Martinez will start for him on Monday against Colorado's Chris Rusin when the Rangers open a three-game series against the Rockies. Banister said there's a chance Rodriguez could move back into the rotation later this season.

Astros: Houston is off on Monday before opening a three-game series with visiting Boston on Tuesday when rookie Vince Velasquez will be called up from Double-A Corpus Christi to start against Brian Johnson. Velasquez went 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in six starts this season before being optioned to Corpus Christi just before the break.

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