Keuchel fans 11 in 4-hit shutout of White Sox

Keuchel fans 11 in 4-hit shutout of White Sox

HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel struck out a career-high 11 batters in a four-hit shutout to lead the Astros to a 3-0 win over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, giving Houston a franchise-best 31 wins through 50 games.

"I was lucky enough to have some pretty good command," Keuchel said. "They were hacking a little bit, but I was showing them enough first-pitch strikes they had to go up there and be cautious of every single pitch I was throwing. That's the way I like it, and it went according to plan."

The only run scored off White Sox starter Jose Quintana came in the fourth, when Preston Tucker (2-for-4, his sixth multihit game) led off the inning with a single, went to third on an Evan Gattis single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Villar. Gattis and Chris Carter hit back-to-back home runs to left field in the eighth.

Gattis' solo home run

Quintana (2-6) pitched well in defeat, surrendering the one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven abd walking four. He struck out five of the first eight batters he faced and didn't allow a hit until Tucker's single in the fourth.

"All of my stuff was working good," Quintana said. "I tried to change speeds. I saw a lot of good swings. I tried to mix pitching. But changing speeds was working better today."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Keuchel dominates: Coming off his only loss of the season, Keuchel returned to his dominant fashion. He never allowed more than one baserunner in an inning and pitched around a pair of errors by third baseman Villar. It was the second consecutive complete game for the Astros' ace, who leads the American League in ERA (1.76) and Majors in innings pitched (81 2/3) and is making a strong case for his first All-Star selection. More >

"The guys hasn't struggled this year, if you look at the way the overall year has gone," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He was in complete control of the game from the very beginning."

Keuchel's final strikeout

Stranded and struggling: As rain from a major storm outside made its way into a closed-roofed Minute Maid Park, Chicago left runners out to dry. The White Sox couldn't cash in on the small openings against Keuchel. They hit into a pair of line-out double plays on hit-and-runs, and perhaps their best chance was in the third, when Geovany Soto made it to third base with one out. Keuchel proceeded to strike out the next two batters.

"We were just trying to get something going," manager Robin Ventura said of the aggressive baserunning. "We kept swinging and missing out in front. Not much you can do against [Keuchel], so just trying to steal a base ... and hopefully maybe you squeeze something through a hole."

Villar turns two on line drive

QUOTABLE
"It's nice to be a part of something like that where the last couple of years we were pretty much down. It's nice to get this recognition now, and hopefully we'll continue doing it as we move forward." -- Carter on the Astros' 31-19 start

"He's a guy that you've got to get three, four, five hits to score two runs with him, because he's not going to give up extra-base hits and he's not going to give up home runs. That's just what he does." -- White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton on Keuchel

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Astros are 19-0 this season in games that they hit multiple homers.

Carter's towering solo shot

WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: The visitors hand the ball to lefty John Danks for Sunday's series finale, and this might be his now-or-never moment this season. His struggles in 2015 largely have been due to self-sabotage, either issuing walks or having off-speed stuff hammered for homers -- neither of which would play particularly well against the potent Astros lineup. The batters on Houston's roster have hit a combined .500 off Danks since 2010.

Astros: Veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez makes his 10th start of the season when the Astros and White Sox wrap up their series at 1:10 p.m. CT. Hernandez was rocked for seven runs and nine hits in five innings in his last start, snapping a streak of seven consecutive starts of at least six innings.

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