Keuchel allowing two home runs a rare sight

Astros ace entered start vs. O's having given up only one homer this season

Keuchel allowing two home runs a rare sight

BALTIMORE -- We're not used to seeing Astros ace Dallas Keuchel allow many hitters to get the ball into the air, much less send a couple of balls over the fence the way Caleb Joseph and Steve Pearce of the Orioles did Monday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The two-run home runs by Joseph in the second and Pearce in the seventh off Keuchel, who had allowed only one home run in his first nine starts, were enough for the Orioles to sink the Astros, 4-3, and send Keuchel to his first loss since last August, snapping his eight-game winning streak.

"I think this ballpark plays pretty well for fly balls," Keuchel said. "They made solid contact. I think I still kind of fooled Joseph with that pitch. It just didn't necessarily fade away like the changeup I usually throw. Pearce's first-pitch home run, that was impressive just because nobody really puts a swing on that pitch. I've never seen one this season like that. But you got to give credit to their guys and I just got to do a better job."

Pearce's go-ahead two-run homer

Keuchel (6-1) suffered his first loss despite pitching his first complete game of the season. Other than the two homers, he was in control. He gave up four runs and six hits in eight innings, with his ERA rising to 1.98 through 10 starts. It was his first loss since Aug. 21, 2014.

"Every starter that goes out there wants to try to win, and he's no exception," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's the first blemish on a record that's been really awesome this year. It's difficult in this league when you're a starting pitcher and you're relied upon to go deep into games. Just wasn't his day for the result. We could have helped him out a little bit more, but it hurts any time a guy pitches well and gets hurt by the few bad pitches that he made."

Joseph's two-run homer

Delmon Young led off the second with a single and was still at first base with two outs when Joseph sent a 1-1 pitch into the first row of the left-field seats to put the Orioles ahead, 2-0. Keuchel then sent down 13 of the next 14 hitters.

"I felt good and I felt like I got the rhythm back that I've been pitching with," Keuchel said. "I came out for the seventh, got one quick out on a bunt attempt by Adam Jones. But, [I] just didn't seem to make any more pitches after that until that double play to get out of the inning. Even the eighth, I didn't make great quality pitches."

Jones bunted into the air for an out to start the seventh with the Astros leading, 3-2. Young followed with a sharp single up the middle, and Pearce crushed the next pitch -- a two-seam fastball -- over the wall in right-center to put the Orioles ahead, 4-3.

"You're going up against professional hitters and if you don't locate, even if you get the ball up, quarter inch, inch above what you want, guys can get under that pitch, and that's what happened," Keuchel said. "I think I still pitched well overall, but we scored three and my job was to hold them to less than three runs and I didn't really do that."

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