Keuchel closes Grapefruit League with superb outing

Opening Day starter tosses 5 2/3 innings, aided by three-run first frame

Keuchel closes Grapefruit League with superb outing

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Left-hander Dallas Keuchel's final spring outing before taking the ball next week on Opening Day for the Astros was a good one, holding the Tigers to seven hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings in a 3-2 win Wednesday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

In their Grapefruit League finale, the Astros jumped on Tigers starter Kyle Ryan for three runs (two earned) in the first inning, with Evan Gattis delivering an RBI single, Chris Carter adding an RBI groundout and Jake Marisnick crushing an RBI double.

"Overall, I felt like my pitches were there," said Ryan, who's competing for a spot in the bullpen. "I had a couple unlucky situations, a couple good hits as well. It was all right."

Keuchel will make his first Opening Day start when the Astros face the Indians on Monday at Minute Maid Park. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning and gave up an RBI double to James McCann in the sixth that allowed the Tigers to cut the lead to 3-1.

"I wasn't really too happy with the command," Keuchel said. "Fastball command was kind of spotty, but I really found the slider as an out pitch and that's the one thing I've been lacking all Spring Training. That was nice to see on the last start.

"Other than that, I'm just excited for the season to start, and what a good team to go up against in the Tigers. We've got Cleveland coming in, and there's nothing but excitement."

Dixon Machado hit an RBI single in the eighth to bring home Dominic Ficociello and cut the deficit to one.

Up next: The Astros will leave for Texas on Thursday morning before playing the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks at 6:05 p.m. CT at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas. Roberto Hernandez will start the game, which will be broadcast on Gameday Audio. The Astros will play host to the Kansas City Royals in exhibition games Friday and Saturday in Houston.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.