HOUSTON -- The Dallas Keuchel we've seen the last two starts hasn't quite been the same guy we saw in his first six starts, when the Astros' pitcher was nothing short of dominant. Perhaps that's why when he gave up four runs and eight hits for the second start in a row, eyebrows were raised.
Keuchel pitched around more traffic than he has in any other start this year and still found a way to remain unbeaten and extend his career-long winning streak to seven games in an 8-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday at Minute Maid Park. He's the first Astros starter to begin a season 5-0 since Roger Clemens was 9-0 in 2004.
"He pitched a little better than his line would indicate, but I think on the front of the first six starts he dominated, and it's hard to keep that pace up," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He hung in there and ultimately ran out of gas a little bit, a couple of bleeders in the last inning and we go to our bullpen."
Keuchel, who allowed four runs in back-to-back games for the first time since last July, was cruising into the sixth having given up just one run before the Blue Jays tagged him for three runs on an infield single, a walk, a double and another single.
"I can't really keep having self-inflicted wounds and walking a couple of guys," Keuchel said. "You give good players enough chances, they'll take advantage of that, and if I keep putting myself in those situations I shouldn't expect to get out of them. That's not the way this game is meant to go, and the law of averages will catch up to me. I've got to get better next time putting my foot on the gas and keep at it."
Keuchel retired the first six batters he faced, including three by strikeout, before Chris Colabello led off the third with a single and wound up scoring. The Blue Jays loaded the bases later in the inning, but Keuchel escaped a tough spot, getting Edwin Encarnacion for the final out.
In the sixth, and with a 7-1 lead, a one-out infield hit and subsequent walk put two men on for Russell Martin, who hit a tapper back to the Gold Glove-winning pitcher. Danny Valencia followed with a two-run double and he scored on a Colabello single to make it 7-4.
Keuchel was yanked after the first two batters in the seventh reached, but the Astros' bullpen retired the final nine batters.
"That was pretty self-inflicted, and I'm thankful for the bullpen helping me out and, obviously, the offense doing their thing once again," Keuchel said.